One of the NBA’s biggest unsolved mysteries is the nature of Kahwi Leonard’s ultra-dramatic exit from the Spurs. In what has been recognized as the most stable and well-run organization in sports, Leonard created a firestorm of media attention when he demanded a trade.
The details are still murky, even many months later. If not for Uncle Dennis Robertson (one of Kawhi’s closest advisors, we might still have no idea what really happened last summer.
In a piece by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Uncle Dennis gave the inside scoop on the drama that unfolded in San Antonio.
“I think it just became a lack of trust,” Robertson told Yahoo Sports. “They didn’t believe Kawhi couldn’t play and that caused a lack of trust in us and then us not believing in them. Any time a player says he’s not capable of playing, you should believe him. Why would Kawhi just stop playing all of a sudden? He’s a competitor. Sometimes you get these team doctors telling you what you can and cannot do, and Kawhi was just in too much pain to get out there. This was a serious issue. They didn’t believe him, and after that, the relationship couldn’t recover and we decided we had to move on.”
The disconnect regarding his injury was the root of distrust from Kawhi’s camp towards the Spurs. They believed he could play and tried to get him out on the court despite him not being fully ready.
Side comments from other players on the team and just the overall attitude toward the situation by the franchise made it seem as if Kawhi was faking the whole thing.
A year later, as Kawhi leads the Raptors to the NBA Finals, he must be forcing the Spurs to re-evaluate their approach to the Kahwi Leonard situation. Because, in hindsight, there is no arguing that they seriously messed up.