The San Antonio Spurs season ended Tuesday night with a 99-91 loss to the Warriors in Game 5 of their 1st round series.
Now comes a whole series of questions including: Will Manu Ginobili and/or Tony Parker retire? Will Danny Green and Rudy Gay opt into the final years of their deal or test the free agency market? And the biggest question of them all, will Kawhi Leonard be a San Antonio Spur next season?
That last question is the one the rest of the league is waiting for an answer for with baited breath, and is the one that could determine the course of the Spurs franchise over the next three to five years.
While nobody outside of the organization truly knows what the relationship is like between Leonard and the Spurs at this point, it looks like they will call upon their hall of fame coach Gregg Popovich to extend the olive branch to reincorporate Leonard back into the fold and the future of the league’s most well-run franchise.
From Michael C. Wright of ESPN:
“With head coach Gregg Popovich expected to take the lead, the Spurs plan to meet with Leonard over the summer to gauge whether the sides can work out their differences and continue what has been largely a positive and productive partnership, sources said.”
The Spurs similarly had a strained relationship with their other star last off-season, LaMarcus Aldridge, which was smoothed over by Popovich after many discussions as Aldridge admitted himself and he was back to being the force he was when he got to San Antonio this season and will likely be an All-NBA player again.
Popovich could most definitely pull it off again this summer with Leonard, but a few more questions complicate matters like are his injury issues more severe than anybody realizes or is letting on and are the Spurs ready and willing to offer him the super max this off-season of about $219 million? Especially considering how this season went.
That is a decision that will ultimately come down to ownership and if the Spurs aren’t willing to offer that kind of deal it could send out the figurative bat signal to teams around the league that the Spurs are officially open for business for Leonard.
The Spurs could look a lot different in 2018-19, or they could be the same old Spurs (minus Tim Duncan of course) that they have been for the past two decades.
There is a scenario where if they can trade Patty Mills and have Rudy Gay and Danny Green opt out of their contracts then they could potentially have a max slot available for a player like LeBron James, who clearly has a ton of respect and admiration for Gregg Popovich, just saying…