Kawhi Leonard requested trade because of lack of trust in Spurs
A season after playing in just nine games for the San Antonio Spurs and being part of headlines related to his recovery from a quad injury, Kawhi Leonard is getting the opportunity for an ultimate flex. He requested a trade that led him to being dealt to the Toronto Raptors over the offseason, and now he has led the franchise to their first NBA Finals in team history.
So why did he want to be traded from the Spurs? What led to the breakup of the two sides after he was drafted by San Antonio in 2011 and had six-plus successful seasons with them?
Leonard’s uncle, Dennis Robertson (aka “Uncle Dennis”), spoke with Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes for an interview that was published on Sunday. He told Haynes that Kawhi wanted a trade because he lost trust in the Spurs’ organization.
“I think it just became a lack of trust,” Robertson told Yahoo Sports. “They didn’t believe Kawhi couldn’t play and that caused a lack of trust in us and then us not believing in them. Any time a player says he’s not capable of playing, you should believe him. Why would Kawhi just stop playing all of a sudden? He’s a competitor. Sometimes you get these team doctors telling you what you can and cannot do, and Kawhi was just in too much pain to get out there. This was a serious issue. They didn’t believe him, and after that, the relationship couldn’t recover and we decided we had to move on.”
Indeed, the conflict between Leonard and the Spurs over the quad injury seemed to be the center of their issues. A report in February 2018 said Leonard had been medically cleared but was choosing not to play. That type of report makes him look bad and is one that would cause players to be irritated with their organization. Then on top of that, the comments from Tony Parker helped push the versatile forward out the door.
The past is the past and the future is the future, and many wonder what Leonard will do after the season. He still has not tipped his hand, and neither did Uncle Dennis. Robertson told Haynes they’re focusing on the Finals and will only look at free agency after the season. A deleted video from Leonard’s sister is one that should concern Raptors fans.