SAN ANTONIO - The headlines swirling around the Spurs and their current relationship with Kawhi Leonard do not seem to be going away anytime soon.
ESPN analyst and former NBA player Jalen Rose added to the recent rumors about Leonard by saying Tuesday morning on "First Take" that Leonard wants to leave San Antonio.
"I hate to say this -- Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio is what I am hearing,” Rose said.
Rose’s reasoning is that the Spurs have not been able to attract elite level, All-NBA caliber free agents to play with Leonard.
Rose also added NBA players want to win a championship, but they want to do it on their own terms and that would not be the case in San Antonio.
“When you go to San Antonio, guess who’s the CEO of that organization? Gregg Popovich,” Rose said.
"First Take" co-host Stephen A. Smith agreed with Rose’s comments and added he’s "heard the same thing” in regard’s to Leonard situation with the Spurs.
The comments come a day after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe and Michael C. Wright reported that multiple sources said Leonard and his camp have become "distant and disconnected" with the organization.
Much of the reported strain on the relationship has come from Leonard’s quadriceps injury, which has forced him to miss 39 games this season and led to frustration for Leonard, the team and medical staff.
Wojnarowski reported that Spurs general manager RC Buford said there is no issue or rift between the Spurs and Leonard.
"From Day 1 all parties have worked together to find the best solutions to his injury,” Buford told ESPN.com. "Historically we've been able to successfully manage injuries. This rehab hasn't been simple and it hasn’t gone in a linear fashion.”
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Leonard has not publicly commented about the injury or rumors. He is out indefinitely as he continues treatment for his injury with no timetable for return.
Leonard is under contract with the Spurs until the 2019-20 season, but can be offered the five-year super-max contract extension from the Spurs this summer. It remains to be seen whether he will sign it.
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