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San Antonio Spurs Legend David Robinson Speaks Out On Kawhi Leonard Trade

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jul 24, 2018 08:36 PM EDT
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David Robinson
Former Spurs star center David Robinson said he tried calling Leonard several times in the past months. However, the Hall of Fame big man said he had not received a call from Leonard before he was traded to the Raptors. (Photo : OfficialHoophall | YouTube)

Hall of Fame center David Robinson had reached out to Kawhi Leonard several times before he was traded to the Toronto Raptors but he got no reply.

In an interview with Rachel Nichols on ESPN's The Jump, Robinson said that he called Leonard several times in the past months in an effort to convince him to mend fences with the Spurs. However, Robinson said he never got a return call from Leonard.

"It's one of the oddest situations I think I've seen since I've been in pro basketball," Robinson tells Nichols, referring to the breakup between Leonard and the Spurs.

"He's a hard guy to understand and to read. San Antonio has a reputation for taking care of our players almost too much," added Robinson.

Robinson was the Spurs' first overall pick in 1987, but was able to join the team in 1989 after he had completed his US Navy service. He played for the Spurs until 2003 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Leonard wanted to be traded to his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Spurs shipped him and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round pick.

Spurs Kept In The Dark About Kawhi Leonard's Rehab

Leonard played just nine games this season before the Spurs decided to shut him down indefinitely due to the quad issue that had bothered him since last summer's training camp.

Leonard did not take the move well, asking the team if he could seek outside opinion from other doctors. The Spurs allowed Leonard, but they assigned a staff member to monitor his progress.

During the period of his rehabilitation in New York, Leonard, at one time, hid from several members of the Spurs brass who came in to visit him and get an update on his rehab process.

According to Michael C. Wright of ESPN, Kawhi's people grabbed him and brought him to another part of the building to keep him away from the Spurs' staff. Also, Wright said the Spurs were kept in the dark about Leonard's rehab during the rest of the regular season.

Spurs Made Right Move

Robinson said the Spurs made the right decision to trade Leonard, saying that if a guy's not happy, he's got to go somewhere where he can play. Also, Robinson praised head coach Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford for addressing the future needs of the team.

"We'll move on from here. I think we're pretty happy with the deal and we'll continue to grow and get better," said Robinson.

Robinson also admits that during Leonard's stay in San Antonio, he only had a chance to talk to him a couple of times. During those times, Robinson said he can count on one hand the number of words that Leonard said to him.

Robinson also blamed Leonard's quiet demeanor for making it difficult for both parties to understand each other.

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