The Spurs do not have to facilitate a trade to the Lakers simply because that's Leonard's preference.
The divide between Leonard and the Spurs had everything to do with the handling of his right quadriceps tendinopathy injury, as he had sought outside medical counsel and spent significant time away from the franchise that found itself at odds with its centerpiece. It's likely due to Leonard's desire to no longer play in San Antonio and to join the Los Angeles Lakers, whether it's via trade or 2019 free agency, as was added in the report.
The Spurs are reportedly not interested in many players that are part of the Lakers, including playmaking dynamo Lonzo Ball, who is the antithesis of what San Antonio has been known to draft over the years.
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The Spurs are in a tough spot at the moment when it comes to Kawhi this summer, as he's up for a $219 million super-max extension this summer whether he goes since he has the chance to opt out of his current contract next year.
Before the meeting took place, Leonard did not want to sit down with Popovich and purposefully made himself "difficult" for the Spurs to reach.
League sources say Leonard has been unhappy with how the team handled his injury.
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Leonard played in only nine games this season, scoring 16.2 points a night, well below his average of 25.5 in 2016-17.
Even despite Leonard's reported feelings, it appears Popovich is still trying to fix the relationship, which fractured at some point during last season. Few situations would be better prepared to be in championship mode than Kawhi, James, Aldridge and Pop's special ability to get the best out of San Antonio's role players.
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