After the NBA Draft, in which the Spurs selected Lonnie Walker IV of the University of Miami and Chimezie Metu of the University of Southern California, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford spoke to the media about how the team's selections affected the team's relationship with Leonard.
Apparently, the Spurs still hope to keep Leonard.
A week ago today, league sources spilled that Leonard wants to be traded. But Buford and company aren't giving in that easily. When speaking to reporters Thursday night, Buford wouldn't comment on whether an official trade request has been made nor if other teams have tried to make a deal. But he said the franchise's goal is to keep Leonard on the roster. Buford's comments were the first time a Spurs official spoke publicly about Leonard since the season ended.
Here’s Spurs GM R.C. Buford on Kawhi Leonard: pic.twitter.com/XXG6rzdxQZ— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) June 22, 2018
When it comes down to it, the Spurs can still control Leonard's career for another year, since he's still under contract. Although Leonard reportedly wants to play in Los Angeles, most likely with the Lakers, the Spurs get to choose where Leonard ends up if they decide to trade him. According to Chris Sheridan of GetMoreSports.com, league sources said the Spurs wouldn't trade Leonard to Los Angeles or even any team in the Western Conference.
Leonard is eligible for a $219 million supermax contract extension. As of now, Leonard hasn't taken the team up on that opportunity, but Buford still has hope.
"Our goal is to keep him as a part of our program for a long time," he said.
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