If both sides are unable to reach a deal by the Friday midnight deadline for players drafted in the 2011 NBA draft, Leonard will be become a restricted free agent next summer. Six players (Kyrie Irving, Kenneth Faried, Nikola Vucevic, Kemba Walker. Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris) drafted that year have already signed extensions.
Earlier this week, Yahoo! Sports reported that Leonard’s representative and Spurs officials had been talking about a new deal for Leonard for the past few weeks, but made no progress.
According to the ESPN report, the Spurs want to wait until after the season to discuss Leonard’s contract. San Antonio could have signed Leonard to a five-year deal, worth $90 million or more. If Leonard hits free agency next year, the Spurs can match any deal that another team makes for him.
Leonard, 23, averaged 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and two assists in the Spurs' five-game victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals last season, earning Finals MVP honors.
He is expected to play in Friday’s game against the Phoenix Suns after missing most of the preseason and the Spurs’ opening night 101-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks because of a right eye infection.
- Scooby Axson