Kawhi Leonard’s time in San Antonio has come and gone.
The breakup was intense, with new whispers and rumors about both sides being presented weekly. When it was finally over, and he was traded to Toronto, nobody expected the talks to stop.
And it hasn’t.
The most recent report to come out about the situation came from Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich himself, where he admitted to reporters that the star forward lacked the leadership role most stars in his position have.
“Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader,” Popovich told reporters on Saturday. “Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills] were the leaders. Kawhi’s talent will always be missed, but leadership wasn’t his deal at the time. That may come as he progresses. Patty and Manu filled that role for us last year. LaMarcus [Aldridge] came a long way as a leader also.”
With Kawhi finally out of town, Pop isn’t holding back on the reality of his time there.
It’s no secret that Leonard benefited from the veteran leadership of Manu, Duncan, and Parker. But to say Leonard wasn’t a leader at all? That’s quite a claim.
This season, with the Raptors, he seems to be doing well enough. The team boasts the best record in the East at 16-4, and Kawhi has done his part with 24.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.
There definitely doesn’t seem to be evidence of locker-room leadership struggles so far.
We’ll see soon enough if he can translate his team’s regular season success into something more, or if Pop’s words on Kawhi will end up proving true.