"Among the issues, Leonard is angry over what he believes was the Spurs' mishandling of his quad injury, and he remains irate with public comments from teammate Tony Parker and Popovich that he felt were not supportive of him, league sources said".
After an unsettling year in which their superstar was at odds with one of the NBA's most prestigious franchises and only suited up for nine games, San Antonio Spurs fans' worst fears were confirmed last week: Kawhi Leonard wants out.
Leonard has one year left on his contract before he can become a free agent.
Leonard has expressed a preference to be traded to Los Angeles, specifically the Lakers.
According to ESPN's report, Popovich has been seeking a meeting with Leonard for weeks, but Leonard has made it hard to set up a meeting. However, assembling a package that would coax the Spurs into coughing up Leonard is something that will prove to be hard for Cleveland, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN (h/t Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints). The two teams are yet to discuss any specific deals, according to Charania. Even with a $219 million super-max extension available to him this summer, it's becoming increasingly certain that Leonard will be donning another team's jersey come October. While George is a perennial All-Star and likely a top-15 player, Leonard is on a different level.
With Leonard requesting a trade, the Spurs are in a tough spot. Popovich told the big man that they wouldn't deal him, and the two sides eventually made it work.
The New York Times' Marc Stein reports that Los Angeles has contacted San Antonio.
San Antonio has no choice but to get more aggressive in handling Leonard's future.