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As Kawhi Leonard holds firm on his desire for a maximum contract, extension talks with the San Antonio Spurs have failed to gather traction despite a looming Friday deadline, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, would become a restricted free agent in July without an extension agreement by midnight Oct. 31 – the deadline for eligible extensions for the NBA's draft class of 2011.
Spurs president and general manager R.C. Buford and agent Brian Elfus have had several discussions in recent weeks, but no progress has been made, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Leonard, 23, is considered one of the NBA's rising young stars, and multiple league executives told Yahoo Sports he'll command a max offer sheet on the market next summer. The Spurs would assuredly match a sheet and retain Leonard, but there remains the risk of Leonard signing a similar offer sheet to Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons.
Parsons signed a three-year, $46 million offer sheet that included a player option on the third year. This way, Leonard could become an unrestricted free agent and potentially leave the Spurs in 2017.
San Antonio could sign Leonard to a five-year, $90 million-plus extension now, if the Spurs were willing to make him their designated player. San Antonio could also negotiate a four-year deal at the maximum contract level – or below – before the Friday deadline. As a restricted free agent next summer, the Spurs could also sign Leonard to a five-year extension at or below the maximum contract level.
Leonard has missed the preseason with an eye infection and is unlikely to be in the lineup on Tuesday for the Spurs opening night game against Dallas.
Leonard averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, two assists and 1.7 steals a game in 29 minutes in the 2013-14 season. He averaged 14.3 points in the playoffs on the Spurs' way to the NBA title and a Finals MVP performance.
Leonard was the second-youngest NBA Finals MVP in history, only behind Magic Johnson.
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