HoopsHype Kawhi Leonard rumors

June 11, 2014 Updates

Jeff Goodman: Kawhi Leonard a different cat. I remember doing story w/him middle of sophomore year at SD State. He showed up 30 min late, not disrespect. Kawhi Leonard just did not have any interest in the national attention. Extremely soft-spoken, focused on right things. Just wants to win. Twitter @GoodmanESPN

Gregg Popovich doesn't suffer fools. He doesn't play politics. And he certainly doesn't make a habit out of handing out bad scouting reports. So when the San Antonio Spurs coach deemed Kawhi Leonard the future face of his franchise in late August 2012, it was enough to make the basketball world take even greater notice of the young player who had quietly become a key part of their vaunted system. They noticed again Tuesday night, when his 29 points and smothering defense of LeBron James sparked the Spurs' 111-92 win vs. the Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals that gives them a 2-1 series lead. USA Today Sports

The potential that Popovich championed so early on was there for all to see. "Well, we just wanted him to be who he's been the whole year, in the regular season and in the playoffs," said Popovich, who landed Leonard via trade from the Indiana Pacers on draft night 2011 when he was taken 15th overall out of San Diego State. "I think the foul situations the first two games really he overreacted to them and became very cautious, and he doesn't play like that. He's got to be real active at both ends, and so he figured it out. "He was just himself. ... That's how he's played all year long. He's got to be one of our better players on the court or we're not good enough. That's just the way it is. He's got that kind of talent where — you know, it's the NBA Finals. You can't just be mediocre out there if you want to win a game, and everybody's got to play well, and he did that." USA Today Sports

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Leonard, 22, uses his hands — each measuring 11.25 inches from thumb to pinkie when fully stretched, 52 percent wider than the average man’s hands — to defend and score, rebound and disrupt. He will be expected to put them all over the Thunder’s Kevin Durant throughout their best-of-seven series. “My hands make me a little longer, and that’s always a good thing,” Leonard said. New York Times

May 16, 2014 Updates
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Leonard fully expects to one day join George Gervin, David Robinson and the celebrated trio of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili on the list of Spurs headliners. "Once the Big Three is gone, you'll probably see a lot more of me taking over," Leonard said. "But right now it's just hard with the top three guys still here." Associated Press

April 11, 2014 Updates

Kawhi Leonard having pictures taken of his massive hand in comparison to females has become something of a tradition in his short NBA career. This one might be the best yet, courtesy of a poster at Reddit.com whose friend works at a store in Dallas where Leonard and Cory Joseph stopped in during their recent stay. San Antonio Express-News

April 8, 2014 Updates

It was a comment Spurs fans have been clamoring to hear since, oh, about five games into Kawhi Leonard’s rookie season. Gregg Popovich, speaking last Sunday before Leonard would enjoy perhaps the best game of his young career, is finally ready to unleash his third-year small forward. “We want to up his minutes,” Popovich said. “He’s going to play more minutes (in the playoffs) than Tim Duncan does probably, more minutes than Manu Ginobili probably. This is his stretch run and he needs to be in shape for it. He’s never really been able to do this because it was a lockout season or we had to limit his minutes last year. This is the first time he’s been able to lay it out there.” San Antonio Express-News

March 27, 2014 Updates

At one point Young thought he might be Leonard’s teammate. He said was aware of the rumors that had him being traded to the Spurs (Young and Duncan share the same agent). Young said he would have embraced the move, as winning is the only thing on his mind. “You know, it’s a great opportunity,” Young said. “I’m one of those guys that just want to win. … We play the game and make a lot of money, but this is our career and me personally, I want to win. I want to play for a winning team, I want to win a championship. … At the end day, right now, the trade deadline is over and I’m just trying to develop guys and rebuild the culture.” San Antonio Express-News

Asked if he’s thought about this offseason, and the possibility that he name will again surface in trade rumors, Young said he hasn’t thought about it. But when he was asked again about joining Leonard in San Antonio, he smiled saying: “It can happen. Like I said, I can play with anybody.” San Antonio Express-News

March 4, 2014 Updates

Popovich and his Euro-darkhorse pilfering GM, R.C. Buford, are on Spurs version 3.0, having gone from the original Duncan-Robinson-Sean Elliott nucleus to Duncan-Parker-Ginobili, then to this team that was five seconds away last spring with Kawhi Leonard leading a young supporting cast. Of course, this season they’ve been hit with all sorts of injuries... saving Popovich the trouble of resting guys, who are recuperating instead. In Parker’s case, the “forseeable future” lasted 12 days before he returned to make 10 of 15 shots in a victory over Dallas. Seems like a long run, if you ever stop to think about it. “I do,” said Popovich. “So the next time it gets turned over, somebody else is going to be there.” Forbes.com

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