Sunday saw the Kawhi Leonard situation (you know, the one where he’s not playing) kind of become news again, before quickly becoming non-news.
On Sunday, Pop was asked about Kawhi’s return. He put the onus on Leonard and his group.
— John Elizondo (@johndelizondo) April 15, 2018
Shortly after, totally by coincidence, we got an update from Kawhi’s group via ESPN’s Chris Haynes. This was a total coincidence, it had absolutely nothing to do with Pop’s update just hours before!
ESPN Sources: San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard still has not been cleared by his medical team. He is improving, but will continue rehabbing in New York. There is no timetable on his return, but he is being examined routinely.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) April 15, 2018
In fact, Kawhi’s group was just getting started with the Haynes report. They shifted up a gear an hour later via Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania.
Yahoo Sports story: Spurs star Kawhi Leonard expected to miss remainder of postseason, committed toward rehab toward full health. Details: https://t.co/WiDuP2WygU
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 15, 2018
This whole ordeal has lasted well longer than anyone would have wanted, and we’ve all had plenty of discussions over it. My friend Jimmy (that sounds like a great sitcom name, btw) recently proposed an interesting idea to me… why hasn’t the NBA gotten involved?
Kawhi Leonard playing is what’s obviously in the best interest of the San Antonio Spurs, but it’s also in the best interest of the NBA. Him playing is the best possible product on the floor, and imagine the ratings a Kawhi-Warriors rematch would draw (especially after this weird season of injury)?
It’s not apples to apples, but the situation is akin to 2012 when then-commissioner David Stern fined Gregg Popovich for resting healthy players during a nationally televised game. If the NBA is willing to fine teams for resting players, shouldn’t they at the very least look into players resting themselves?
This wouldn’t be a question if there was universal agreement that Kawhi Leonard truly wasn’t medically cleared, but the Spurs medical team has cleared him. Obviously Kawhi’s side disagrees, but why then hasn’t the NBA sent a third-party medical team to at least gather information?
At the very least it’s a question worth asking, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Should the NBA get involved, or just leave the situation for the Spurs and Kawhi to handle (even though they’re not)?