The relationship between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs has changed dramatically over the past few months as he has continued to experience discomfort in his quadricep area and has taken control over his own treatment.
"Kawhi is the same person. The only thing that has changed about him is the people speaking for him now," said a league source with direct knowledge of the situation.
The frustration from Leonard's camp emanates from the resistance they felt they encountered from the Spurs as far as considering outside opinions and the public questioning of the situation by Gregg Popovich, according to multiple sources.
Said one source close to Leonard, "The Spurs feel that they hire the best, that they do it better than anyone else. They deserve to have that reputation and that kind of ego. But they're just not very open-minded. They don't like others messing with their players."
Said another Leonard confidant, "They're alienating him. They're making him look bad. You have this seamless transition from the Duncan era to the new era, this homegrown superstar. Like why would you alienate him?"
Leonard is represented by Mitch Frankel and was previously also represented by Brian Elfus.
Sources from the Spurs point to the departure of Elfus in 2016 as a turning point in the relationship. Frankel and Leonard's uncle, Dennis Robertson, took over day-to-day communications with the Spurs since Elfus left.