HoopsHype Kawhi Leonard rumors

November 11, 2014 Updates
November 10, 2014 Updates
November 9, 2014 Updates

It turns out Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has a pretty good explanation for the slow start to his season. He still can’t see straight. Leonard said after Saturday’s loss to New Orleans that his right eye remains blurry after a preseason bout with conjunctivitis. San Antonio Express-News

“My right eye, the vision’s not all the way back yet,” Leonard said. “Hopefully I can heal up soon. I’ve just got to keep competing so I can get used to it and get my rhythm going.” Leonard shot 7 for 26 in his first three games, and started 2-for-8 against the Pelicans. He ended up 5 for 13 with 14 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season, but missed two shots on the Spurs’ final possession that could have given them the game. San Antonio Express-News

November 4, 2014 Updates

As Ginobili and his Big Three teammates Tim Duncan and Tony Parker read the scripts they were told to memorize for Monday’s commercial filming session at the team’s practice complex, they discovered the spots have a new star. “(Kawhi Leonard) is the go-to guy for the punchlines now,” Ginobili said. “It’s a long day, especially after a tough practice like today. But first you have fun while shooting it, and then you see the end product, and you feel proud of it. “It’s a great job they do with the scripts, and they put us in a great spot to perform well and be funny. We all enjoy it.” San Antonio Express-News

November 3, 2014 Updates

Delayed by the eye infection of their latest leading man, Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs finally got around to shooting their latest batch of commercials for H-E-B following a long practice on Monday. The Spurs typically shoot the popular spots during the postseason. But with Leonard, whose incorporation last season mirrors his on-court ascent, sidelined for roughly three weeks with a nasty case of pink eye, production was pushed into the regular season. San Antonio Express-News

November 1, 2014 Updates

Only six of the 14 players taken int the lottery beat the deadline and got richer. That means the draft was so-so at best and disappointing at worst. But complicating matters is the smell of big money down the road. Thanks to the new TV deal and the looming labor negotiations in a few years, some players are willing to place bets on themselves and hold out for a few extra dollars. It’s also known as the Kawhi Leonard route. The MVP of the 2014 Finals and 15th overall pick had hoped for a max deal, didn’t get one from the Spurs, and will try the market next summer during restricted free agency. But he was the big exception, and so, we survey the scene for the first-round winners and losers. Winners: Klay Thompson (drafted No. 11): Got four years and $70 million from the Warriors to make a big, umm, splash. NBA.com

October 31, 2014 Updates

“We feel Kawhi is deserving of a max contract, and we are disappointed that something couldn’t get done,” Elfus told Yahoo Sports. “There’s no debating Kawhi’s value. The market has been set. He’s done everything the Spurs have asked of him, exceeded all of their expectations. Coach [Gregg] Popovich has gone out of his way to call Kawhi the future face of the franchise. We have great respect for the Spurs organization, but here, we simply agree to disagree. “There will be no shortage of teams interested in Kawhi’s services next year. There will be a lot of contract scenarios available to us, and we will explore them all.” Yahoo! Sports

When it comes to Leonard, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich walks a fine line. On one hand, Popovich believes -- and wants Leonard to believe -- that he is the future of the franchise. It’s why Popovich frequently responds to questions about Leonard with that very phrase. “You can only talk to somebody so much and if you do it too much, they don’t hear you anymore,” Popovich told SI.com. “Him hearing it from another source, maybe he starts to understand the responsibility that comes with that. It’s not easy to come every night and do what the big guys do. Kevin Durant is expected to do that every night. LeBron [James], Timmy [Duncan]. When he hears it from a lot of sources, I think it helps.” Sports Illustrated

“The different qualities I saw in Tim, in Manu, in Avery [Johnson], I see in Kawhi,” Bowen said. “I would never limit him to being what I was. He’s special. He’s the most complete player on the team right now.” The Spurs expect Leonard’s offensive game to continue to expand. Leonard continues to work diligently with shooting guru Chip Engellend, who tweaked Leonard’s form after the draft and has steadily helped him become more comfortable shooting three’s from all over the floor. Assistant coach Chad Forcier, who works with Leonard to develop an array of moves, including step backs and jump hooks. And Popovich promises to put a few more plays in the playbook for Leonard, mainly in the post, where Leonard can utilize his sturdy 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame to overpower smaller defenders. Sports Illustrated

October 30, 2014 Updates

Marc Stein: Spurs just announced Kawhi Leonard is cleared to play Friday against Phoenix. Leonard missed Spurs' final six exhibition games thanks to nasty eye infection. Was only cleared to rejoin the team at Tuesday's shootaround Twitter @ESPNSteinLine

While the fourth-year player and the Spurs still have until Friday to get a deal done, all indications point to the Spurs not giving Leonard the deal he wants. Never mind that Popovich offered Leonard the highest of praise two years ago when he said "he'll be the face of the Spurs," or that Leonard went into the summer with all the momentum of being named the Finals MVP. USA Today Sports

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