The Spurs never had a private workout with Kawhi Leonard before trading for his rights in last year’s draft.
“They didn’t want anybody to know they were onto Kawhi,” says Brian Elfus, Leonard’s Carlsbad-based agent, who didn’t know either. “Teams like that, they kind of wait in the wings and seize the moment. The Spurs, they’re just really comprehensive and thorough in their research … They had it mapped out.”
Gregg Popovich admitted the Spurs had identified Leonard weeks earlier – “targeted him all along,” in Popovich’s words – and spent draft night discreetly trying to trade for a mid-first round pick. The Spurs traded George Hill in exchange for Leonard’s rights after the Indiana Pacers selected Leonard with the 15th pick.
“If you’re going to get something good,” Popovich says, “you’re going to have to give up something good. It was tough, but we did it … We were fortunate enough to get him.”