David Griffin, the former general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers who won a championship in 2016, recently shared his thoughts on the Kawhi Leonard situation while on SiriusXM NBA Radio.
Despite all the reports about Leonard seeking a trade and the rumors about which suitors will be pursuing the two-time All-Star, Griffin said that none of the talk matters until San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and general manager RC Buford sit down with Leonard and have a conversation about the forward’s future.
That’s the only way to know if the relationship is truly irreparable. This would also allow them to confirm that this is what Leonard truly wants (and not just the people in his inner circle). Here is what Griffin said on his SiriusXM NBA Radio show:
“San Antonio is not into media frenzy. Until they have a conversation with Kawhi Leonard and he looks Coach Popovich and RC Buford in the eye and says, ‘Guys, I want out,’ none of this means anything. It really doesn’t. It’s a lot of fun to talk about. It’s a fascinating story. It’s wonderful, in some ways, that they’re now part of that media frenzy. But what makes them special is that they’ve ignored the noise for 21 years! They didn’t forget how to do that just because there’s some scuttlebutt out there.
“Be very careful with the notion that they ‘must do something.’ Those dudes have been phenomenal at not forcing anything until it was absolutely the right time in their own minds. If something happens relative to the draft, it’s going to be because they heard something directly from [Leonard] and not because of the things we’ve heard [in various reports].”
According to reports, the Spurs learned of Leonard’s trade request via social media. It’s possible that the Spurs’ decision-makers stillhaven’t had a conversation with Kawhi or his camp about his unhappiness, as no such talks have been reported.
With that said, the Spurs likely have some idea of how Leonard is feeling. After all, there was tension between Leonard and management throughout much of the 2017-18 season over how his quad injury was being handled.