Kawhi Leonard might not be on the first flight out of San Antonio after all.
Leonard, 26, was limited to nine games during the 2017-18 season due to a lingering quad injury that dated back to the prior season. His odd, ever-changing status led to widespread speculation that he was dissatisfied in San Antonio.
The Spurs doctors cleared him to return to basketball in December, according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright, but he lasted only nine games before sitting out again due to discomfort. He remained sidelined from that point forward.
"Everything was done as a group," Leonard told reporters in March. "I don't feel like nothing was friction. I talk to [head coach Gregg Popovich] every day. He knows what the progressions were. He knew what I was doing the whole entire time, as well as the front office. We made a group decision."
Leonard also said he "for sure" wanted to finish his career in San Antonio. That was the last time the All-Star spoke to the media during the 2017-18 season. Popovich, meanwhile, repeatedly mentioned Leonard's "team" when asked if his star would return, which hinted at some level of friction.
Once defined by their quiet off-court demeanor, the Spurs are going into their second straight offseason with a seemingly disgruntled star. LaMarcus Aldridge reportedly requested a trade last summer before having a heart-to-heart meeting with Popovich, according to Wright. Upon finding common ground, Aldridge later went on to sign a contract extension with San Antonio.
The Spurs can only hope history repeats itself. Otherwise, the franchise's first rebuild in more than two decades could be on the horizon.