Buford: Spurs not giving up on relationship with Kawhi

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford has not given up on fixing the team's relationship with Kawhi Leonard.

The San Antonio Spurs’ preference is to keep Kawhi Leonard with the team longterm but according to general manager R.C. Buford, the team “will explore all options.”

Leonard, the Spurs’ two-time first-team All-NBA forward, is reportedly not happy with how the organization handled the right quadriceps injury that sidelined him for all but nine games last season.

Sources broke the news one week ago that Leonard wants out of San Antonio and wants to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, Buford said the organization is willing to work with Leonard to repair the apparently damaged relationship.

“Kawhi and his family mean a lot to our organization and to the community,” Buford said after the NBA draft Thursday night. “While none of us would wish we are where we are, we’re going to do what we can to build the best relationship we can with him, and we’ll explore all of our options. But the first one would be to do what we can to keep Kawhi as a part of our group.”

There is no timetable for Buford to repair the relationship because he wants it resolved as soon as possible.

“Yesterday,” Buford quipped when asked when he’d like to see the situation resolved.

“I don’t know that timing’s a factor in this. … He’s under contract for another year,” Buford said. “Our goal is to keep him as a part of our program for a long time.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reportedly met with Leonard in San Diego on Tuesday.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported the Lakers reached out to the Spurs regarding Leonard’s reported desires but San Antonio did not want to begin a dialogue, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Leonard has one season left on his contract and he can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season.