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Kawhi Leonard‘s relationship with the San Antonio Spurs has reportedly soured this season and teams are preparing to approach the Spurs this offseason about a trade for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, according to ESPN insider Brian Windhorst.
Leonard has only played in nine games this season due to right quadriceps tendinopathy and has left the team twice to rehab on his own in New York.
Spurs veterans Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili led a players-only meeting two weeks ago in which players asked Leonard whether he planned to return this season.
Leonard was reportedly caught off guard by the meeting.
“I have already talked to several NBA general managers,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “At the end of this season, teams will call the Spurs and inquire about the availability of Leonard.”
ESPN insider Zach Lowe confirmed Windhorst’s report by adding his own two cents:
Not that Windy needs any confirmation, ever, but this is 100% true. Vultures are circling, in hopes of action around the draft. https://t.co/Osp4WLofgv
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 3, 2018
Optimism has waned that Leonard will play again this year within San Antonio. The Spurs can still offer Leonard the Designated Veteran Player Extension this summer that would pay the All-Star forward over $200 million.
To acquire Leonard, rival teams will surely have to offer multiple high drafts picks and a ready-now player.