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Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard’s ‘Distant’ And ‘Disconnected’ From Team

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It’t not often that you hear about any disconnect or rifts within the San Antonio Spurs organization, but there could be one reportedly brewing.

According to a report from ESPN, Spurs star Kawhi Leonard’s nagging quad injury is effecting his relationship with the franchise and coaching staff.

Leonard and his camp are described as “distant” and “disconnected” from the Spurs organization.

Spurs general manager RC Buford rejected the reporting in an interview with ESPN.

“There is no issue between the Spurs organization and Kawhi,” Buford said. “From Day 1 all parties have worked together to find the best solutions to his injury.”

“This has been difficult for everyone,” Buford told ESPN. “It’s been difficult for Kawhi. He’s an elite-level player. It’s been difficult for the team, because they want to play with a great teammate. And it’s been difficult for our staff. Historically we’ve been able to successfully manage injuries. This rehab hasn’t been simple and it hasn’t gone in a linear fashion.”

“We sought outside expertise with the best tendon experts in the world,” Buford said. “It worked beautifully for Tony [Parker] but it hasn’t worked the same for Kawhi.”

Back in November, Spurs head coach Greg Popovich said that he had “never” encountered a quadriceps issue like the one Leonard is experiencing.

The Spurs made public a decision to shut down Leonard indefinitely earlier this month after he jumped in and out of the lineup with a strained left shoulder.

Popovich said that Leonard “didn’t reinjure” the quad saying that the team was being cautious with their superstar.

“You’ve got to be confident in your body to go out there and play at the level he’s expected to play,” Popovich said. “We didn’t feel he was ready. His confidence level wasn’t there. So we decided to give it some more time.”

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Spurs to Retire Manu Ginobili’s Jersey

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The San Antonio Spurs will retire Manu Ginobili’s #20 jersey on Thursday, March 28th when they play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team announced on Tuesday ( h/t The Undefeated’s Marc Spears).

Additionally, there will also be a postgame ceremony to honor Ginobili.

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Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan Upset Over Sportsnet’s Raptors Video

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San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan isn’t too happy about a video from Sportsnet that took shots at players from the past such as Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, and Tracy McGrady, although it gave a nod to DeRozan.

Still, DeRozan isn’t happy with the video, which he saw as disrespectful.

“I felt some type of way (about the video), for sure,” DeRozan said of the video, according to The Athletic. “It wasn’t even for me, but for the previous guys. For Vince, T-Mac, to Chris, you can’t undermine anything that they did. Without them, there wouldn’t have been that team we had last year, two years ago, five years ago. There wouldn’t be the team that’s there now if it wasn’t for my time there, so don’t undermine the people that came before us. I just didn’t like that.”

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Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan Talks Debut With New Team

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San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan took the court for the first time not wearing a Toronto Raptors jersey, and although it looked weird at first DeRozan seemed to fit right in with the team that acquired via trade over this past summer.

DeRozan played 18 minutes and finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting.

“Just getting out there, lacing them up in front of the fans for the first time, it was fun,” DeRozan said, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.

“I’m glad I got to get the rust and kinks out and [got to] go out and get that part out of the way. It’s going to come along. I’m not worried at all. I was out there more anxious than anything.”

DeRozan knows that the transition is a process, but believes things will only get better moving forward.

“As the next few days go by, the next few games, it’s only going to get easier and easier,” DeRozan said. “I expect I’ll be rusty. Just go out there and try to feel things out and understand what I can get better at.”

“It’s pretty much a given that team-oriented players, when they get into situation like DeMar’s in now, he’s gonna probably pick and choose a little bit,” Spurs head coach Greg Popovich said. “He’s gonna take his time, get the lay of the land, figure out his teammates, and in that respect I thought he was great. He looked for his stuff, he helped with his teammates. It was a great first outing for him.”

Teammate Rudy Gay understands what DeRozan is going through, joining the Spurs himself last season.

“We had a couple guys who have been there. We have them on the court and you throw DeMar in, and we could pretty much coach him just like I was coached last year,” Gay said. “It’s easier that way to keep a couple veterans out there with DeMar so he can learn where he’ll be most productive. The younger guys? They’re just playing, trying to find their way, and coach is trying to figure out where he can put them in the lineup and how our team can benefit off of each one of them.”

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