David Robinson Says Kawhi Leonard Spurs Trade Was Odd, Star Didn't Return CallsJuly 23, 2018
San Antonio Spurs legend David Robinson is flummoxed by the entire Kawhi Leonard situation that ultimately led to the two-time Defensive Player of the Year being traded to the Toronto Raptors.
Robinson discussed Leonard's falling out with the Spurs during a Monday interview with Rachel Nichols on ESPN's The Jump and called it "one of the oddest situations I think I've seen since I've been in pro basketball":
Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols
David Robinson tells me Kawhi Leonard’s departure from San Antonio is “one of the oddest situations I’ve seen since I’ve been in pro basketball." He says he tried to reach out to Kawhi several times in recent months, but never got an answer back. https://t.co/k4mNiqGxQM
Nichols asked the Hall of Famer if he reached out to Leonard, and Robinson joked by saying "has anybody spoke to Kawhi about this?" before revealing he attempted to several times but never received an answer.
Leonard was well on his way to becoming a Spurs legend as a two-time All-NBA selection, four-time All-Defensive selection and the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, but he played a mere nine games in 2017-18 as tensions between he and the team came to a head before this offseason's trade.
The Spurs announced he was out indefinitely with a quadriceps injury in January, but Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com reported near the same time that "months of discord centering on elements of treatment, rehabilitation and timetables for return" led to "a chilling impact" on the relationship between player and team.
Wojnarowski also reported in March that Tony Parker led a players-only meeting that was "described as tense and emotional at times" where Leonard's teammates attempted to convince him to return to the court.
According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Leonard was "uncomfortable" and ready to move on in June.
While Robinson was confounded by the entire situation, the Raptors will look to parlay the trade into their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. Although the trade cost them DeMar DeRozan, they now have a two-way superstar in Leonard and don't have to worry about LeBron James in the Eastern Conference after he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.