The Los Angeles Lakers contacted the San Antonio Spurs after Kawhi Leonard‘s public trade request last week but immediately felt the Spurs had no intention of engaging in any dialogue, sources close to the situation told ESPN.
As one Lakers source put it, “They basically shut the door on us.”
No players were discussed and, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday, there has been no further dialogue between the teams.
Leonard has expressed a preference to be traded to Los Angeles, specifically the Lakers.
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However when the Lakers called to express interest in Leonard, they were given the distinct impression the Spurs had no interest in doing business with them, according to sources.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich traveled Tuesday to Southern California and met with Leonard prior to Thursday’s NBA draft, league sources told ESPN.
For weeks, Popovich has been working to set up a meeting with Leonard to discuss the issues that have fractured the franchise’s relationship with the All-NBA forward and caused him to make public his desire to be traded, league sources said.
Leonard had told confidants that he did not want to sit down with Popovich and has made it difficult for the Spurs to reach him recently. Among the issues, Leonard is angry over what he believes was the Spurs’ mishandling of his quadriceps injury, and he remains irate about public comments from teammate Tony Parker and Popovich that he felt were not supportive of him, league sources said.
Leonard will eventually alert rival teams considering trades for him that his intention is to sign in Los Angeles when he can become a free agent in 2019, league sources said.
Leonard, a two-time first-team All-NBA player, is eligible to sign a five-year, $219 million super maximum contract with the Spurs this summer.
The Spurs’ official priority has been to try to talk with Leonard to work through the issues, league sources said. That has been communicated to those teams seeking trade talks, although the Spurs have encouraged some rival team executives calling about Leonard to present an offer if they so choose, league sources said.
So far, the Spurs have been largely reluctant to give teams guidance on the players, or packages, that would interest them in trades, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski contributed to this report.