No progress has been made in talks according to Yahoo! Sports…
San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is reportedly nowhere closer to agreeing to a new deal with the franchise as he holds out for a max deal.
The 23-year-old was named the NBA Finals MVP last year as the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat, and after averaging 12.8 points and 6.2 rebounds last season, he saw those numbers increase to 14.3 and 6.7 in the playoffs.
As a result, it is understood that he is holding out for a five-year deal worth $90m from the franchise, and with coach Gregg Popovich insisting that Leonard is the future of the Spurs, they will be eager to tie him down to a long-term deal.
However, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, talks have not been successful thus far ahead of the October 31 deadline, and Leonard may well become a restricted free agent next summer.
“As Kawhi Leonard holds firm on his desire for a maximum contract, extension talks with the San Antonio Spurs have failed to gather traction despite a looming Friday deadline, league sources told Yahoo Sports,” Wojnarowski notes.
“Spurs president and general manager R.C. Buford and agent Brian Elfus have had several discussions in recent weeks, but no progress has been made.”
With the likes of Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons receiving big money in the open market this past summer, Leonard is within his rights to be demanding a substantial increase on his rookie deal.
While the Spurs have been highly effective of keeping their top players on lower than expected deals, Leonard is seen as the face of the franchise moving forward and so he will be expecting to be rewarded if his form from last season continues.
Naturally, several other teams will be monitoring the situation, but essentially there is no way that the Spurs will allow him to leave. The Spurs would simply match any offer Leonard receives, and that interested party would be unable to spend that money until the Spurs match thus hurting their ability elsewhere in free agency.
As a result, the question comes down to how much the Spurs are willing to pay Leonard rather than whether or not they will be able to keep him.