ESPN's Michael C. Wright outlined in detail on the Back To Back Podcast how Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs' relationship became fractured over the past year to the point where he's requested a trade.
"The Spurs were in the dark for most of the season," said Wright. "Like some of the things that were happening were crazy.
"I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m going to say it because Kawhi is about to be out of there I think. There was a point during his rehab process in New York that some of the Spurs brass went out to see him in New York. As soon as those guys arrived to the building, Kawhi’s people grabbed him and sequestered him to another part of the building. And so the Spurs' people couldn’t even see him.
"These are the types of things that are going on that people don't know about."
The Spurs handed over direction of Leonard's rehab on August 8, 2017. Leonard felt like the exercsises the Spurs were having him do were making him hurt even more. Leonard had multiple opinions on his thight.
Leonard then went to China for a promotional tour about a week later.
"When he went away to China, the Spurs couldn't get him on the phone. They could not get in touch with him. The thing is when the Spurs have something like that, a guy go on a league sanctioned trip abroad, they're going to send their security people. They're going to send their PR people to be with that player. They couldn't even get in touch with him.
"If you talk to people within that organization, they'll tell you that was the turning point in the relationship when he went off to China and they could not get in touch with him. Everything changed after that."
Wright said the Spurs still aren't 100 percent sure how they want to handle the situation.
"Even right now, as we speak, the Spurs still don't know what they want to do with him. Trust me, I've had conversations in the last couple days with very high ranking Spurs' officials. They do not know if and when a trade is going to happen. They don't know if they're going to end up keeping him and trying to work it out. Their preference is to try to work that relationship out, but at some point I don't know how you can get there at this point."
Wright also reported that Leonard's relationships with Gregg Popovich and RC Buford have always been great.
"That's the weird part of it. They can have a conversation with Kawhi and everything be great. But then when you involve his people in the whole thing, that's when everything becomes contentious. That to me, that middleman (Dennis Robertson) is the part that makes everything untenable at this point."