It’s very strange having a San Antonio Spurs season filled with what the NBA world calls drama concerning its biggest stars.
Perhaps it was destiny as it all began when the season got off on an awkward foot, what with LaMarcus Aldridge asking Gregg Popovich to trade him away last summer.
#Spurs coach Greg Popovich was caught off-guard when LaMarcus Aldridge came to him asking for a trade. pic.twitter.com/qznyNTCVJ3
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) January 12, 2018
Pop noted that this was a first for him in his storied career, and he took it in stride. He saw it as an opportunity to see what he could do differently. He adapted, and he did it masterfully.
Popovich has seemingly reached another first. There is, however true it is, public discussion of dissension between his franchise and their most important player.
ESPN reporting with me, @mikecwright and @ZachLowe_NBA: Months of discord centering on treatment, rehab and timetables for return have created chilling impact on Kawhi Leonard/Spurs relationship. GM RC Buford rejects reporting of turbulence. https://t.co/uFE0dEpSgl
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 22, 2018
.@JalenRose says the Spurs are having trouble attracting top-tier talent to play with Kawhi Leonard. pic.twitter.com/oi9HgioLio
— First Take (@FirstTake) January 23, 2018
This is uncommon for the San Antonio Spurs. These are uncharted waters for them. This is, truthfully, life for the average NBA fan, though.
The Spurs have never been the average, though. There’s a system and a foundation of corporate knowledge. San Antonio has always lived above the rim so to speak, never having to deal with problems that hinder the “average” franchises.
So much of this is true because of the aforementioned foundation. It’s undeniable that Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, name whoever you want, all built a culture that exists as strong as ever today.
What if the culture isn’t for everybody, though?
What if LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t fit the culture as it stood? He obviously didn’t, asking to no longer be a part of it, and Popovich did as Popovich does and everything worked out.
Well, what if the culture as it was is no longer sufficient for Kawhi Leonard? What if he’s a little bit more like the average NBA superstar of his generation and the home cooking that’s fed countless Spurs before him doesn’t taste the same anymore?
Pop wants to make Kawhi Leonard's relationship with the team very clear. pic.twitter.com/VqW2SpUn4l
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 24, 2018
What if things are different now? If Pop is acting as if things are the same, and Kawhi is different, that would explain the misalignment being reported.
This isn’t an indictment against the Spurs, Pop, or Kawhi, it’s simply the reality of the NBA. It’s the reality of sports, hell it’s the reality of life in general.
Things change. People change. We all learn and grow and become different people. As shocking as it is to consider that Kawhi Leonard would be the one to buck the system, at some point somebody had to, right?
It seems fair to assume if the rumors are true, that Pop will handle this like he always has. He’ll assess, adjust, and move on. It’s interesting to note that he’s having to do so much adjusting these days, especially with his more prominent players, and that’s perhaps the most telling sign of all.
The NBA is a different place these days, maybe San Antonio is more like it than anyone realized.
You sports writers have the journalistic accountability that wouldn’t even work at Mad Magazine. The rumors are obviously BS. Spurs can’t attract top tier free agents? They have Pau Gasoline and Aldridge, dude. I bet Jalen Rose’s producer made him spread those rumors. ESPN is so awful. And now, you’re parroting them, writing a speculative article filled with “what ifs,” passing it off as sports news.
Allex, I get that your upset at the rumors, but I think you’re out of line here. As far as accountability with “us” sports writers, you should take a look at our content. We never post anything that hasn’t been reported by a reputable source. The rumors being obvious BS is basically just your opinion. In my personal opinion, I don’t think it’s nearly as big as it’s being made and I also don’t agree with Rose. I wouldn’t agree that we are parroting them at all. We aren’t here claiming to have knowledge of the situation and making ridiculous, unfounded claims. We also are not trying to pass anything off as news. This is simply RJ’s take on how the NBA is different now than it was before. Appreciate you commenting, but there are a ton of other media entities posting stories on every single rumor as they happen, which we have stayed away from. Also, I’d welcome you to comment on content that you enjoy and not just comment when you want to criticize a writer.
I’m curious as to the “top talent” the spurs could of recruited. They grabbed Aldridge a few years back. Who was this top talent sa failed to obtain that was legitimately going somewhere and was on the market to chase? Cp3 tradeed bit said wanted to come to sa. Kyrie? Traded wanted to come to sa. Paul George? Wasn’t going to happen since sa had KL. Anthony? Traded. Durant? Had his decision made up that if he was going to leave okc he was going to chase rings, and even I as a spurs fan can see he made the right choice. So I don’t understand where this attraction for top talent has failed. This is a team that won 62 games last year and in my opinion by adding Gay with Gasol another year in the System when and if healthy would compete with GD and Houston. Bogus by j rose to report this nonsense. Unfortunate bc up to this point I liked j rose.
Both camps are frustrated at this unmanageable and slow healing injury. Pump the brakes. Win 52-60 games. A healthy Spurs roster, which by the way can deal with gs, is around the corner. Everybody relax and stay in your lane. js
The one thing in common is the news reporters. Who have to earn their pay. Including Jalen Rose.
I think there could be some aggravation, but that could very well be the great desire to be on the court along side of his teammates. And the wear and tear mentally long-term injuries have on someone. If he’s able to get back soon, all this goes away.