The Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs saga took another cryptic turn today when former Spur Stephen Jackson dropped some harsh criticism of his former teammates and in particular, coach Gregg Popovich.
In doing so, Jackson told Colin Cowherd, that Parker’s obvious shot at Leonard claiming his injury was “100 times worse” was approved by Popovich and the Spurs’ PR. But adding more fuel to the fire, Jackson revealed these are messages that are actually coming down from Popovich, just distributed through Parker.
That meeting that they had, that also came through Pop, according to Jackson, not the players. They are just the messengers.
I brought up this point last week that Parker’s shot at Leonard’s injury was actually just a reiteration of Popovich’s statement back in November:
“What’s really strange is that Tony Parker has the same injury, but even worse.”
Popovich, like Bill Belichick, has his fingers wrapped around this organization and its players second to none. There is no way these comments are getting out, and the players hold a meeting to implore Leonard without Popovich directing it all.
Combining this along with Jackson making these claims so nonchalantly, it sounds that the underlying issue with Leonard may actually be with Popovich, or vice versa.
This may offer a better explanation on why Leonard has still not returned after it was rumored he was set to return weeks ago. Maybe he does still have issues with the medical staff and the players, but an issue with Popovich is much more detrimental to all sides.
If Jackson is correct, and there is no reason to doubt him, this could leave the Spurs’ organization with its toughest decision in two decades: Kawhi Leonard or Gregg Popovich?