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Report: Kawhi's camp hid him from Spurs staffers during rehab in New York

Kawhi doesn't want to play ‘second fiddle' to LeBron, seeks trade to Clippers

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)


SAN ANTONIO – The Kawhi Leonard saga took another bizarre turn on Thursday when a report surfaced that said Spurs officials were not able to directly see Leonard at some point during his rehabilitation in New York.

While speaking to Bleacher Report’s Tom Haberstroh for his "Back to Back" podcast, ESPN’s Mike Wright provided some context into Kawhi’s situation that was under a microscope during the course of this past year’s NBA season.

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"You go through the entire season and coach (Gregg) Popovich was asked these questions over, and over, and over again and the thing was … Pop didn’t have the answers because of the whole rehab process was out of his hands," Wright said.

Wright said Popovich’s responses "you’ll have to ask (Kawhi's) group" were not a shot at Leonard’s camp but a statement that he simply didn’t know, leaving the Spurs in the dark with no answers.

"There was a point during his rehab process in New York that some of the Spurs’ brass went out (to) see him in New York. As soon as those guys arrived to the building, Kawhi’s people grabbed him and sequestered him to another part of the building," Wright said.

Wright said the incident is just one of the occurrences that many people do not know about regarding Leonard and his current situation.

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Leonard, who only played in only nine games due to a right quadriceps injury, has reportedly said he does not wish to step back into the Spurs locker room and requested a trade.

According to multiple reports, Leonard has voiced his displeasure on how the organization handled his injury and his relationship with the Spurs is beyond repairable.

Despite recent reports stating Leonard prefers his trade destination to be the Los Angeles Lakers, Wright said that demand has since changed.

"The Lakers are not Kawhi’s preferred destination anymore. He wants to go to the Clippers," Wright said. "He doesn’t want to go and be second fiddle to LeBron (James) and that’s what I was told."

Wright went on to say that people within the Spurs organization have told him the Clippers do not have any attractive assets for Kawhi to be traded to them.

RELATED: Spurs seeking major trade haul for Kawhi Leonard, reports say

He added that the Lakers wish to trade for Leonard but that the Spurs are asking for too much in a potential deal.

The Spurs could still offer Leonard a five-year, super-max contract worth $221 million in mid-July, but Wright said the current situation has left them unsure what next steps to take.

"The Spurs still don't know what they want to do with him. Trust me, I've had conversations in the last couple days with very high-ranking Spurs' officials. They do not know if and when a trade is going to happen," Wright said.

"They don't know if they're going to end up keeping him and trying to work it out. Their preference is to try to work that relationship out, but at some point, I don't know how you can get there at this point."


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