HoopsHype Kawhi Leonard rumors

July 17, 2014 Updates
July 16, 2014 Updates

Kawhi Leonard withdrew from consideration for the U.S. basketball team's roster for the FIFA World Cup, saying he's learned that he needs to take a break after watching the struggles of Spurs teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili during the regular season after they played through last summer for their national teams. ESPN.com

July 14, 2014 Updates

It appears Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, has withdrawn from the Team USA training camp at which the team that will represent the United States in the FIBA World Cup tournament will be selected. Sources familiar with USA Basketball’s plans for the camp, scheduled to begin in Las Vegas on July 28, said the Spurs forward has not yet given a firm commitment to participate in the camp and may be pulling out. USA Basketball is to issue a press release on Monday about the players who will be at the camp. San Antonio Express-News

June 20, 2014 Updates
June 19, 2014 Updates

Moments after the San Antonio Spurs came off the barges at the Riverwalk, from their championship parade Wednesday, Spurs center Tiago Splitter and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard spoke with the media. In Splitter and Leonard’s media sessions, both players confirmed to Project Spurs, they plan on representing their countries in FIBA play this summer. “Yes, I will,” confirmed Splitter of playing for Brazil at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain this August. “Yeah, that’s the plan,” said Leonard of trying to make the roster for Team USA in Las Vegas this summer. “Right now, I’m just going to rest and take it slow. But when that time comes, I’ll be ready.” ProjectSpurs.com

Fans screamed "Go Spurs Go!" in unison at the slightest glimpse of a San Antonio Spurs player or coach floating down the River Walk. It was reminiscent of last season when the Spurs walked off their team charter to those chants, except the tone Wednesday night was much sweeter. The victory parade for Spurs' fifth NBA title was part celebration and part exorcism. "It is soaking in, but I'm still going to live it up for about the whole summer," NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard said. "(I haven't slept) very much. I've been trying to live the moment. It's been hard to sleep still. Thought I would get some sleep after we won the Finals, but I'm still celebrating. Go Spurs Go! San Antonio!" ESPN.com

June 17, 2014 Updates

But he knows "what's next" is already here, starting with the possibility of a contract extension this summer. If the Spurs and Leonard don't reach a deal on an extension between July 1 and Oct. 31, Leonard could be a restricted free agent after 2014-15. "I'm just playing," Leonard said. "The Spurs are a great organization. I'm leaving that to my agent, and I'm sure they'll come out with a great understanding and a deal. I'm not focused on that at all." USA Today Sports

June 16, 2014 Updates

Leonard has been touted because of his NBA Finals performance, which featured one of the all-time turnaround. Leonard scored nine points each in Games 1 and 2, only to go on to produce 23.7 points over the final three games and end the series with averages of 17.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant saw that performance as more of a system-based result, and he said as much in a casual Twitter debate. Sporting News

Jeff Caplan: Pop says he calls ZERO offensive plays for Kawhi. Everything he gets comes out of the flow of the offense. That will soon change, Pop says. Twitter @Caplan_NBA

But as he walked away from the championship podium, the only one in the building surprised he was named the Finals MVP in a landslide vote, he said everything you need to know about who he is and what's inside him with a hug. A deep, soulful hug with his mother, Kim Robertson. "I've got tears in my eyes, I'm so proud," Robertson said. "I'm very, very emotional. It's not about Kawhi winning the MVP or not. I'm just so glad we won." ESPN.com

"Me and my brother were in the car," Robertson said. "Kawhi was in the back and he just says, 'My dad is dead.' "I really didn't see Kawhi suffer from it. I wanted him to. I would say, 'Kawhi, you OK? You OK?' But I think he just kept it in. "I was kind of scared. You know how young men, they lose their father, who is a big figure in their life. It might turn them to do things bad. But Kawhi's always been strong. He's a good kid. He wants to get better and better." ESPN.com

Kawhi doesn't talk much about it, to anyone. Not even his mother. But sometimes you honor someone best with actions, rather than words. "From the moment it happened, he wanted to make his dad proud," Robertson said. "He wanted to keep on moving and moving and moving. "Kawhi just wants to get better and better and better. He does not want to be a superstar. He does not want to be in the limelight. He just wants to be good at what he loves to do." ESPN.com

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