It appears that San Antonio will have their hands full in the next few months
Ever since Tim Duncan came into the NBA back in 1997, the San Antonio Spurs have yet to miss the playoffs. They have won 5 championships along the way and it could have been 6 if not to Ray Allen's clutch three-pointer back in the 2013 NBA Finals. Even with Tim Duncan probably rocking his chair elsewhere, enjoying his retirement, the Spurs have managed to keep themselves competitive despite injury problems that have hit Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard.
Right now, the Spurs have a 30-18 record and are in 4th place in the Western Conference. They have dropped 6 of their last 10 games and are on a 2-game losing slide. What's worse is that they are set to face the Cleveland Cavaliers next.
And things are not looking good for the Spurs. Earlier this week, Tony Parker has been demoted from his starting position as Gregg Popovich has promoted Dejounte Murray as the team's new starting point guard. While this move has been anticipated by many considering the mere fact that Tony Parker has been dealing with injuries over the course of the past few seasons, Parker has openly embraced this decision by his team, even saying that this move was already expected.
While the Spurs can still enjoy Tony Parker's presence on the floor, things have been strangely different with the Kawhi Leonard situation. To begin with, Leonard has only played sparingly this season as he just recovered from the injury which kept him out during last season's playoffs. Now? Kawhi Leonard is rumored to be possibly missing the rest of the regular season but that's not the bad part.
According to sources, Kawhi Leonard has grown "unhappy" and apparently, his relationship with the Spurs has been strained as of late. While the former Finals MVP's camp and the Spurs front office have denied this story, various elements on the ways of treating and rehabilitating Leonard's injury have a chilling impact on the star- the sources claimed.
If it's true that Kawhi Leonard has grown "unhappy" with the Spurs despite the Spurs being known as a good team due to their ways of managing their players and, with aging stars slowly losing their minutes to younger teammates, this could only mean one thing: the Spurs are already preparing for life after Gregg Popovich.
What's next for the Spurs?
Losing Kawhi Leonard for the rest of the season could force San Antonio could make the necessary moves to ensure that their playoff streak will continue. While there's a lot of potentials for Dejounte Murray to develop into a star point guard in the near future, it will take a long time before that could materialize which means that the Spurs will have to rely on someone else aside from LaMarcus Aldridge.
While it's impossible for now to see the Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard, we all have to face the reality that Kawhi Leonard is no longer the same player he used to be during the past few seasons. He may have been one of the best two-way players but getting injured and growing unhappy? It's a big problem.
For the Spurs to avoid losing Kawhi Leonard for nothing, they must make the decision: trade him for their future superstar.
Kawhi Leonard has only appeared in 9 games this season including in two of their last 10 games. Tony Parker has returned to being a role player off the bench. Only the Spurs themselves can really tell us what their next move will be. But if they want to ensure that they can stay competitive come playoff time, sacrifices must be made.