Hollins: Kawhi Leonard Just Wants To Leave Spurs

Former NBA Coach Joins Taz & The Moose

Taz and the Moose
October 30, 2018 - 11:30 am
DeMarcus Cousins

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"I think he just wants to leave. I think his people want him to leave. And this is a great way."

Former NBA Coach Lionel Hollins joined Taz & The Moose Tuesday morning to discuss Kawhi's future, DeMarcus Cousins joining the Warriors, LeBron to the Lakers, and more.

Taz & The Moose asked Hollins how discouraging he thought it was for other teams to see Cousins (Boogie) joining the Warriors, as he announced on Monday. 

"I don't think it's discouraging." Hollins said. "I think it's just another challenge. It was already challenging, and it didn't seem that anybody was really close to the Warriors. You've got to understand, Boogie is still injured. That's why he couldn't get a long-term contract and that's why the Pelicans weren't willing to pay him."

When he is healthy, Taz & The Moose asked if they have any doubts about Boogie's addition to the team working well. 

"Of course it works. Somebody's got to sit, " Hollins explained. "Somebody's going to be the odd man out. Most likely it's going to be Igoudala."

Another interesting signing was Rajon Rondo in a one year deal to the Lakers. Taz & The Moose wondered if Hollins thought this was a good idea. 

"Of course. Rondo's a great player. He's a smart player. He's a guy that's a great play maker, understands the game very well." He added, "He did great things for the Pelicans. The Pelicans don't go where they are without Rondo."

Rondo's contract came soon after LeBron James announced his decision to sign in Los Angeles. Hollins wasn't surprised by LeBron's choice. 

"I've told people, I've said he's going to LA. .. Really, the Lakers are a clean slate. As you see, they're starting to bring in people." he said. "And there's probably still a possibility of Kawhi Leonard to go there and some of the young guys to be removed. If they don't, they still have a group of young guys that are energetic and excited and LeBron has shown that he can... mold guys into a unit, that they'll come together and they'll be exciting." 

Kawhi is still a big question during this offseason. A large factor in this is the tension in his relationship with coach Greg Popovich. Hollins thinks that the nature of the dynamic between the two is misunderstood. 

"Everybody takes that narrative. I don't think there's a problem between he and Pop."

Leonard faced a lot of criticism in San Antonio regarding his caution coming back from an injury, questioning his ability to play even when he was cleared. This is an important piece in the Pop and Kawhi relationship. 

"I don't knock Kawhi for wanting to go get a second opinion, I've done it when I played and coaches understand that. Organizations understand that. But again, the sensitivity from both sides comes into play and I don't believe it's an issue with Pop. I don't believe it's as big of an issue that everybody's making it out to be."

He added, "I think that what it really is, is Kawhi's people have decided that they don't want to be in San Antonio and this is a great opportunity to get out earlier than waiting one more year. ... When you look at the Spurs, are they a team that can do some damage? They've gotten really, really old, and I think that people are looking at that."

Hollins also thinks that another aspect is that Kawhi's team is looking at opportunities further than just on the court. 

"They want a big market. Everybody's trying to get to that situation where they can maximize their off court opportunities as well as the salaries that they can so they can maximize as much money as they can get. ...There's so much that these young players have aspirations for outside of just being a good basketball player. It's just the way it is, and I don't hold it against him for having that. I just hope that they remember that they don't have all of that without what they have on the basketball court first."

One contender to acquire Leonard is the 76ers. However, it's a gamble-- he would likely leave after a season and it would take some convincing for him to decide to return. Taz & The Moose ask Hollins if he would take this risk. 

"I would probably not. I know what happened with Paul George, but I think that was a fluke." Hollins said. "But looking at the 76ers, I don't think that they can convince Kawhi to stay if he really doesn't want to be there. Secondly, they have no assets that the Spurs want, except for the big three that they said are untouchable, ... I don't know if they even have enough assets to entice unless they're going to give up a bunch of draft picks."