Leonard downplays reports of rift with Spurs

Two-time NBA defensive player of the year Kawhi Leonard denied friction exists with the San Antonio Spurs and said he wants to play the remainder of his career with the team.

Leonard has played just nine games this season and none since Jan. 13 due to a right quadriceps injury. He spoke with reporters Wednesday and downplayed reports of a rift with the Spurs regarding the way his rehabilitation has been handled.

“Everything was done as a group,” Leonard told the San Antonio Express-News. “I don’t feel like nothing was friction. I talk to Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) every day. … He knew what I was doing the whole entire time, as well as the front office. We made a group decision, so it was me just going out and saying, ‘I am going to go out and do this thing.’ ”

Asked if he would like to finish his career in San Antonio, Leonard said, “Yeah. For sure.”

Asked when he thinks he’s going to play again, Leonard responded, “Soon. I don’t have a set date right now. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing. The progression that I’m making has been great.”

Leonard is averaging 16.3 points and 6.2 rebounds a game in his seven-year pro career.

— Field Level Media

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