Bruce Bowen, who won three NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, took Kawhi Leonard to task for his dealings with the team this year, saying, “There’s nothing but excuses going on.”
Speaking on Sirius XM NBA Radio on Thursday night, Bowen said: “First, it was, ‘Well I was misdiagnosed.’ Look here: You got $18 million this year, and you think that they’re trying to rush you? You didn’t play for the most part a full season this year. And you’re the go-to guy, you’re the franchise and you want to say that they didn’t have your best interest at heart? Are you kidding me?”
Leonard played just nine games this season because of a quad injury. News of his desire for a trade surfaced last week after he told confidants he no longer wanted to play in San Antonio.
“I think he’s getting bad advice,” Bowen said. “I think what you’re starting to see now is an individual given a certain amount of advice, and it’s not the right advice. Here it is: You were protected in San Antonio. You were able to come up during a time where you still could lean on Tim [Duncan] Tony [Parker] and Manu [Ginobili].”
Bowen was a fixture in the starting lineup and on All-Defensive teams as San Antonio won championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007. The former ESPN analyst is now a game analyst on LA Clippers broadcasts.
Bowen said Leonard has not been forthcoming about his issues with the team.
“Not one time has Kawhi come out and said anything to the effect of, ‘You know what, hey, I really enjoy being in San Antonio.’ Or, ‘I can’t stand what’s going on here in San Antonio,’ ” Bowen said. “Not one time has he said anything.”
Bowen also said he thought Leonard’s decision to rehab in New York instead of with the team was a problem.
“As a player, if I’m a leader of a team, my team goes on the road in the playoffs, I’m with my guys,” he said. “Because that’s what it’s all about. It’s about camaraderie. It’s about fellowship. It’s a brotherhood. When that didn’t happen, it’s all kinds of sirens and alarm signals that says to me, ‘Is this person fully vested?’ … I don’t want to take on a player who’s not willing to support his guys during the course of their time needing him.”
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Thursday night that the franchise’s desire is to keep the disgruntled Leonard in the fold but that the club “will explore all of our options.”
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