Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard told USA Today that he hopes that he will be in Spurs uniform for the rest of his career after team did not reach a contract extension with him before the Oct. 31 deadline.
Leonard made the comments after he tied a career-high with 26 points in San Antonio’s 89-85 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
The Spurs did not sign Leonard to a contract extension before the Oct. 31 deadline for players chosen in the 2011 NBA draft, meaning Leonard will become a restricted free-agent next summer.
“I was never upset about (the extension)," Leonard said. "I mean they explained to me what their deal is and why they didn't do it yet. That'll play out. If I think about that, then I'm not going to be the same player that I am and will be just out of it.”
Leonard is seen as the team’s future after he 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.
Leonard is averaging 12.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in five games this season for San Antonio, who have gotten off to a 3-3 start. He says he doesn’t see himself playing for another franchise, but acknowledges anything can happen in free agency.
"I don't think I'm going anywhere," Leonard said. "I mean they love me here. I like the organization, and if it was up to me, I want to finish out with one team like a lot of great players have done, to stay with one organization their whole career and just be loyal to that. You never know. We'll see what happens next summer, but I'm pretty sure I'll be in a Spurs jersey for my whole life."
- Scooby Axson