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Leonard has become uncomfortable with any future with the Spurs — because of overall mistrust stemming from the organization’s handling of his quadriceps injury during the past year — and is prepared to move on immediately, league sources said.
Leonard, a two-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year who was the 2013-14 NBA Finals MVP, played just nine games with the Spurs this past season after acrimony with the franchise about the condition of his lingering quadriceps injury.
The Spurs’ front office and Leonard’s representatives have been in communication since the season ended, and Leonard has been in contact with coach Gregg Popovich, league sources said. Leonard spent most of the second half of the season rehabbing his injury in New York, where his medical team was based and where he trained with Spurs staffers. He has returned close to full health from the lingering quad injury.
Leonard attended the private memorial service for Popovich’s late wife, Erin, in San Antonio after the season ended, and he interacted with team officials.
Leonard, 26, is under contract for two more seasons and owed $41.4 million, but has a player option for 2019-20.
He was drafted 15th overall in 2011 and when healthy is regarded as the league’s best two-way player.
Leonard had his finest season in 2016-17, when he averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists and shot 38 percent from 3-point range.
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