If somebody needs to blame for leaving the Spurs of the former Finals MVP, Popovich had a part of it as per Stephen A Smith. “I would say some albeit to some degree not intentionally,” said Smith.
That guy had an injury that limited him to play nine games in the 2017-18 season for San Antonio.
“What it comes down to is this, to me, the defining moment is in March of 2018 when supposedly when they had the players confront Kawhi Leonard to find out whether or not he was coming back, what his status was because they were tired of going back and forth with all of this,” Smith said.
“It is widely believed,” said Smith. “If players come to you, particularly the Tony Parkers, Manu Ginobili’s of the world, and they have thoughts and feelings, it is sort of an extension of Gregg Popovich.”
Again, the Spurs are proven to be the best in handling injuries. They win with Tim Duncan having a bad one knee. Spurs need to sit him in the playoff even they will defend their title in 2000 just to secure Duncan’s career. Also, they manage to sit Manu Ginobili on his rookie year. Prior to this, David Robinson has a great seven-year career after a major injury in 1996. These are some examples of how the Spurs handled injuries. They don’t force somebody even there’s a huge stake on the table.
That blame game should be on the camp of no. 2. The players-only meeting which led by Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are to settle all things. The team is fighting for a playoff spot at that time. To be a franchise player he needs to lead an example to his teammates. Show up, be man enough to face, and explain that questionable decision why they don’t agree with the Spurs medical team. That was a leader need to do, instead, he put the Spurs on the bubble. Parker and Ginobili proved themselves to be a legend. They played with injuries, sacrifice money, and fame to lead as an example. Never being a diva even they can gain more exposure outside of San Antonio.
With Gregg Popovich, he doesn’t know about what’s happening in that certain situation. When the media ask him, he always answered: “ask about his camp“. Pop had his decision to sit that coward when the season starts just to preserve him. In a game-winning drive of game five against the Houston Rockets, he’s on the bench. Even on series-clinching game six, the Spurs didn’t bother him to play. The coaching staff gives enough time to let him healed by skipping every other game.
Of course, media outside of San Antonio will not talk against this coward. Playing in Los Angeles could give ESPN more sponsorship, earn money, and increase revenue. Did you see what happened to Bruce Bowen when he talks about the benefits of Spurs? He was fired!