It was a fun NBA parlor game over the past months: Who can put together the best trade package and land Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs (then re-sign him).
It was always more thought exercise than reality-based, Gregg Popovich and the Spurs were going to roll over at the first sign of trouble and move one of the game’s five-best players (when healthy). When teams called and asked about Leonard’s availability they were quickly shot down.
If Leonard is going to become available, things are going to have to reach the point of no return fast — and they are not trending that way. Following on the heels of other reports, Jabari Young of the Express-News is reporting that the big summit between Leonard and Popovich is happening soon.
League sources tell the Express-News that head coach Gregg Popovich and Leonard are trying to schedule a meeting, possibly this week, to discuss any issues or concerns Leonard may have, and hopefully come to a decision on offering Leonard the five-year, $219 million supermax extension he is eligible to receive.
Leonard, who is still rehabbing from his quad injury, is close to feeling 100 percent — “He’s at 96, 97 percent,” a source told the Express-News — and anticipates being ready for the start training camp in September.
I will add I have heard from sources that — like any big summit meeting — a lot of groundwork has been laid for this one and that the sides are in a better place with each other than things seemed a couple of months ago. Things can go sideways still, but around the league the trade talk around Leonard has slowed as it looks like his marriage with San Antonio will continue.
It’s amazing how $219 million can solve a lot of problems.