The San Antonio Spurs are all smiles at this time of year. As they get ready to parade their fifth Larry O’Brien Trophy around the Riverwalk on Wednesday, reality will set in and happy time will be over. The front office of San Antonio will have some significant decisions to make this summer, one being the future of Kawhi Leonard.
The youngest NBA Finals MVP winner since 1980 could be an unrestricted free agent after next season. The Spurs can prevent this by putting a deal in place for a contract extension, which must be done between July 1 and Oct. 31 of this year. Now this may be a good chunk of time, but time can fly by when you are dealing with a player of this caliber.
Leonard was able to average 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and shoot 57.9 percent from beyond the arc against the Miami Heat’s LeBron James. Those numbers are difficult enough to put up on anyone, let alone the greatest player on the planet. So it goes without saying that Leonard will be one of the hottest commodities if he is available after next year.
Just like Tim Duncan, the Spurs hope that they can have that type of loyalty and longevity with Leonard. Considering he is their only option to make a smooth rebuilding transition once the “Big Three” depart, the Spurs must do everything in their power to keep their future franchise player around.
There has been no indication that Leonard wants to play anywhere else, but you just never know in this day and age of sports. His quiet demeanor and unmatchable work ethic all point to a peaceful future in the Alamo City, but that decision is in his hands.