On the eve of his return to San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard is finding out just how bad he has managed to piss off the usually calm and docile city of San Antonio.
In a summer of drama, chaos, and finger-pointing, the Spurs organization was flipped upside down with an uncharacteristically toxic situation. After an injury derailed the first half of what ended up being his final season with the team, questions were raised when the star basically disappeared from the game altogether. The team reportedly pushed the star to return too fast and too hard, and refused to let go of a medical team that has since been widely scrutinized.
Tony Parker spoke out about him, and Kawhi eventually lost his trust with the team altogether. What resulted was a flurry of headlines and embarrassment, with Leonard literally refusing to play for a team that he felt no longer had his best interest at heart.
It truly is a remarkably deep story, with nothing to confirm just who exactly the bad guys are in all of this.
Regardless of your stance, it's clear that the Spurs lost a bit of themselves in the whole ordeal. As Kawhi spends his season winning in Toronto, without having to answer for whatever the heck happened in Texas, the Pop and the Spurs are struggling to maintain the fire and stability they've been so well known for in the past.
Bitterness, anger, resentment -- it's all understandable feelings for Spurs fans. Death threats? Well, that might be taking it too far.
In a recent social media post, Kawhi's sister claims, (albeit without any proof) that the family is receiving death threats over the fact Leonard is not playing with the Spurs.
"Its crazy people are sending death threats to my family over Kawhi being with the Raptors and not playing on the Spurs. Who raised you? God got us!"
Nobody expects Leonard to get a standing ovation in his return to AT&T center on Thursday, but for his family to apparently be receiving death threats is a different level of hatred entirely.
Gregg Popovich, speaking on the Kawhi situation, smartly urged everyone to just move on.
“You move on in life," said Pop to Michael C. Wright of ESPN, "We’re not going to redo what’s happened in the past in any way, shape or form. It’s of no consequence at this point, and it does no good to go backward and talk about this, that or the other. One of the reasons is you guys will interpret it whatever way you want anyway. So it doesn’t matter what we say. You’re gonna say whatever you want. It’s a waste of our time."
True, the franchise will take a while to recover from the Kawhi Leonard saga. We don't really know the full story, on either side. But rather than sulk in the past, maybe it's time for both sides to just put it behind them.
After all, it's too late to change anything now.
Still, some wounds take time to heal. And this whole predicament was no small paper cut.
So when Kawhi steps on that court for the first time with his new team, he should know what to expect. You can't really do everything he did and just expect no backlash in return. Fortunately, for him and those who will be booing him in the stands, there's a whole lot of other things to look forward to in the seasons ahead.