Kawhi Leonard Contract: Latest Gossip and Buzz on Negotiations with Spurs

Kawhi Leonard was the breakout star from last year’s playoffs, winning MVP of the NBA Finals for the San Antonio Spurs. Now, he wants to get paid for his efforts. 

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Leonard is likely going to test the restricted free-agent waters after this season:

Contract extension discussions have ended, and San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard plans to explore restricted free agency next summer, his agent, Brian Elfus, told Yahoo Sports on Friday afternoon.

Elfus and Leonard have held firm on their desire for a maximum contract extension, something Spurs management won’t consider until July.

Leonard’s agent is quoted by Wojnarowski as saying that he was disappointed a deal couldn’t get done with the Spurs and acknowledged his camp believes “Kawhi is deserving of a max contract.”

There’s no debating Kawhi’s value. The market has been set. He’s done everything the Spurs have asked of him, exceeded all of their expectations. Coach [Gregg] Popovich has gone out of his way to call Kawhi the future face of the franchise. We have great respect for the Spurs organization, but here, we simply agree to disagree.

The Spurs aren’t a franchise known for giving out huge extensions to anyone, so they are playing with fire in Leonard’s case. Sam Amick of USA Today pondered what not getting a long-term deal done with their 23-year-old star could mean, given how the market has played out for another, less-proven player:

Then comes Gordon Hayward, a 24-year-old who has put up good numbers (12.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists per game) on Utah Jazz teams that have been subpar for his four seasons (143-169 regular season record combined). He was given a four-year, $63 million deal max offer by the Charlotte Hornets last summer that the Jazz matched.

Leonard isn’t an unrestricted free agent, so when he hits the market this summer, San Antonio will have a chance to match any potential offer he gets. The Spurs are conservative when it comes to spending money, which can hurt negotiations with a young, budding superstar who played an integral part in winning last year’s title. 

Given their lengthy track record of success, the Spurs should be given the benefit of the doubt in any situation. It’s dangerous, though, because their nucleus is still comprised of players over 30, like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. 

 

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Are Spurs about to make mistake with Kawhi Leonard?

They have until Friday, but at this point there hasn’t been a new deal for the Finals MVP

      
 

 

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WATCH: Spurs get their rings, raise championship banner

Before the San Antonio Spurs opened their season Tuesday night against Dallas, they received their 2013-14 NBA championship rings in a pregame ceremony.NBA Commissioner Adam Silver congratulated the Spurs in the ceremony, which also featured the unveiling of the 2013-14 NBA Champions banner hanging from the rafters.Video via NBA. This post appeared first on Holdout Sports. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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Spurs squeak past Mavs in opener

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan were all in midseason form for the champions.

      
 

 

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Parker helps Spurs edge Mavs 101-100 in opener (Yahoo Sports)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 28: Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericsk at the AT&T Center on October 28, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas

Tony Parker made a clutch shot in the fourth quarter. Manu Ginobili had a big game, and Tim Duncan contributed with a double-double. San Antonio’s efficient performance on opening night looked awfully familiar. Parker made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:07 remaining, and the Spurs began their title defense with a thrilling 101-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.


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Up-close look at Spurs’ huge rings

They are large and very sparkly.

      
 

 

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Spurs’ Boris Diaw Breaks Dirk Nowitzki’s Ankles Twice in Same Game

Boris Diaw isn’t known for his fleet feet, but maybe the weight clause in his contract is helping out.

In Tuesday night’s season opener between the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, Diaw took Dirk Nowitzki off the dribble twice.

Both times, Dirk found himself on the floor—not the best start for the Mavs’ future Hall of Famer.

[TNT]

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Spurs Championship 2014 Banner, Ring Ceremony Twitter Reaction and Highlights

This is becoming old hat for the San Antonio Spurs. For the fifth time in the last 15 years, the organization opened its home slate with a celebration of the past.    

On Tuesday night, Spurs players received their NBA championship rings and unveiled the banner for their 2013-14 NBA Finals win.

The Spurs tweeted out photos of head coach Gregg Popovich and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard receiving their rings:

On Monday, the normally stoic Tim Duncan admitted that he’d relish getting the fifth ring of his career.

“I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m really going to enjoy that moment,” he said, per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “I’m not going to look past it. I’m not going to mentally prepare for the game before I get the rings.”

The NBA posted a Vine of Duncan receiving his ring.

Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have been the driving forces on the court behind the Spurs’ success. They all took a moment before the game to pose with their rings.

Fans in attendance inside the AT&T Center received a replica championship ring. You can view it below, courtesy of NBA on TNT:

Championship rings always feature plenty of bling, but it’s always cool to see the little details teams add to make the rings a little more personal and unique.

CBS Sports’ Eye on Basketball posted a photo of the inside of the ring:

Dan McCarney of the Express-News showed one side of the ring, which features the team’s slogan, “Pounding the rock”:

Of course, the ring ceremony was only half the fun, with the team’s fifth championship banner unveiled a little later in the night:

Spurs legend David Robinson saluted the team:

Team owner Peter Holt said that this championship ceremony in particular was special, with the banner unveiling nearly bringing him to tears, per Tom Orsborn of the Express-News:

The pomp and circumstance had to end at some point, and the Spurs players aren’t a bunch to bask in past glories for too long, as evidenced by their continued success.

Veteran Matt Bonner added that the ring ceremony and banner ceremony would be “kind of like the last step in the celebration.”

“I know we’re all very excited to get to the ring ceremony,” he said, per McDonald. “When that’s over, that’s it.”

San Antonio will have little time to rest on its laurels. The team opens with one of its Southwest Division rivals, the Dallas Mavericks, who have strengthened in the offseason with the additions of Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler.

The two teams met in the first round of the playoffs last year, with Dallas pushing San Antonio to seven games.

Ginobili spoke about how going the distance against the Mavericks prepared the team for its NBA title push.

“(The Mavericks) did make us better, for sure, and that’s the great thing in the West,” he said, per Mike Monroe of the Express-News. “This doesn’t happen that much in the East. But this really gets you better. It makes you improve and face a tougher challenge from the beginning and the Mavs were, for sure, great.”

Beating the Mavs would be a great way for the Spurs to kick off their title defense.

Historically speaking, the odds are in their favor. They’re 4-0 in games immediately following an NBA Finals win.

The Spurs are one of the most successful American sports franchises in recent memory, but one thing they haven’t pulled off is back-to-back championships. Crossing that off the checklist would be a great crowning achievement for the franchise.

If there’s anything the past few years have taught everybody, it’s that one should never doubt what the Spurs can do. Critics have been calling for their decline for years, and yet, there they were on Tuesday, celebrating yet another title.

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Dallas Mavericks vs. San Antonio Spurs: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

It’s been 136 days since the last truly meaningful NBA contest. It was a quiet, lonely time during which many basketball fans spent waiting, wishing for Tuesday, Oct. 28.

And now, that day has finally arrived.

The defending champion San Antonio Spurs host the division rival Dallas Mavericks during the opening game of the 2014-15 regular season.

San Antonio is led by its longtime Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Behind them, however, Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, starting center Tiago Splitter and sharpshooter Patty Mills will each be unavailable on opening night due to various injuries.

Dirk Nowitzki will continue to anchor a revamped Dallas squad. The Mavs acquired Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler, Jameer Nelson, Richard Jefferson and Al-Farouq Aminu through trades or free agency this offseason.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, and the Western Conference battle can be seen on TNT. Bleacher Report will provide scoring updates and in-game analysis. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Tiago Splitter Injury: Updates on Spurs Forward’s Back and Return

Already set to miss the San Antonio Spurs’ season opener against the Dallas Mavericks with a strained calf, center Tiago Splitter is also dealing with an undisclosed back injury, head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters Tuesday night.   

Jeff McDonald, covering the game for the San Antonio Express-News reported the news:

Splitter, 29, suffered a strained right soleus during training camp and missed the entire preseason. The Brazilian was one of three key contributors ruled out for Tuesday night’s opener, with an eye infection holding Kawhi Leonard back and Patty Mills still rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery.

The Spurs are arguably the NBA‘s most conservative team when it comes to nursing regular-season injuries. Popovich has been known to sit his high-profile players whenever he sees fit and will often keep injured players out longer than expected, taking a long-term view of the 82-game season.

Splitter, who has emerged as a solid two-way complement to Tim Duncan, missed 23 games last season, most notably with a shoulder injury. There is no word on when Splitter will be expected back in the lineup this time around, especially with the back ailment combining with the calf strain. Popovich did not indicate when Splitter first noticed pain in his back.

Boris Diaw has spent most of the preseason starting in Splitter’s place, a trend that should continue Tuesday night. Marco Belinelli will slot in for Leonard.

After opening with a home tilt against Dallas, the Spurs have Wednesday and Thursday off before taking on the Suns in Phoenix. There is no word on whether Splitter will travel with the team. San Antonio’s next home game is Nov. 5 against the Atlanta Hawks, which would seem like the earliest possibility for Splitter’s return.

 

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