Popovich addresses players meeting, says Kawhi's recovery is ‘just unfortunate situation'

Spurs head coach says he didn't know about meeting

SAN ANTONIO – Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich addressed the reports of a players-only meeting before San Antonio hosted the Jazz on Friday night at the AT&T Center.  

The meeting centered, in part, around Kawhi Leonard’s status moving forward as the Spurs make a push for the playoffs.

Popovich was asked if it was common for players-only meetings to be held.

"I have no idea, I’ve only been here. There might have been team meetings that I never knew about. I didn’t know about this one," Popovich said. “But it’s not something that I would address as far as you can't have team meetings or you shouldn’t have team meetings or this is what you should say. They’re grown men, they want to have a meeting, they have a meeting.” 

Popovich jokingly added that he wasn’t invited. "I can take a hint. If you’re not invited, you don’t go in there,” Popovich said.

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The meeting was held Saturday and led by Tony Parker. Several players, including Leonard, reportedly shared their concerns about the Spurs all-star forward and other team issues.   

Guard Danny Green and forward Rudy Gay refuted ESPN’s initial report that the meeting was tense and emotional at times. Green described it as taking care of family business.

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Popovich said he did not know what was said at the meeting. 

"I only talk about the things I know and I know he’s (Leonard) worked hard to get back. It’s been frustrating,” Popovich said. "You don’t think he wants to come back? You don’t think we want him back? But the fact that he’s not back frustrates everybody for all the obvious reasons. But there’s no blame to be placed on him or anybody else. It’s just an unfortunate situation, so what we think about is we do what we’ve been doing.”   

Leonard has played in only nine games this season. Green and Manu Ginobili said the team’s mindset moving forward has to be that Leonard is not coming back, something Popovich agreed with. 

"The guys that are playing, that’s who the team is, Popovich said. "If he got added to the team, well that’s great, but you have to act like it’s not going to happen because you have to be who you are and he’s not with us right now so this team has to have it’s own identity.”

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