HoopsHype Kawhi Leonard rumors

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

October 29, 2014 Updates

If so, that would leave the Spurs without only starting forward Tiago Splitter, who is apparently now dealing with an unspecified back injury after the strained calf that sidelined him for the entire preseason, and reserve guard Patty Mills, expected to be out until roughly January after offseason shoulder surgery. “Don’t take this to the bank,” Popovich said, “but I’m guessing he is probable for Friday. Tiago and Mills will be out, but Kawhi might be back. We have two days to practice and get him out on the floor. We want to make sure he doesn’t infect anyone else.” San Antonio Express-News

October 28, 2014 Updates
October 27, 2014 Updates

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