It very well could be that playing for Pop is an extremely awful experience that only a handful of people can abide. Mostly, it does not matter, as for about 20 years the one person that could abide it was extremely talented and had a lot of other characteristics that made playing for Pop secondary to Playing With Tim.
So it goes. Few know what it is like to work along side Kawhi Leonard and fewer still know what it was truly like to carry the burden of the franchise after Tim Duncan retired. It is not for everyone, and injury diagnoses aside, living in San Antonio is not the greatest thing for young black men in their 20s. I do not blame the guy for his rumored desire to live back in sunny, beach-having, Los Angeles.
Everyone has to make the best choice for themseleves — that is the biggest takeaway from Adam Smith’s work, remember? — so if Kawhi determines his best work location is in LA then he can communicate that to the Spurs and the Spurs will then work the better their position.
The bad feelings around this are not really whether or not Kawhi wants to leave. Again, that is the most understandable part of all this. The worst part is that all of this seems to be ending in the worst possible way for the franchise. I do not mean that for the staff and coaches and others in that vein. They are all highly paid and will get along fine. I care about we, the people. If the Spurs front-office is really and truly bungling the handling of MVP-calibre players then it is a bad thing for our enjoyment in the long term.
That said, I have been around long enough to remember that Tim thought about Orlando, and Derek Anderson feigned feeling disrespected, and Stephen Jackson complained, and Robert Horry went on to bitch after the fact. No one aside from fawning media says that Spurs HQ is a utopia. The Spurs have famously kept the uglier side — the distracting side? — under wraps and private.
That this is so public is unfortunate, but not unusual. If Kawhi wants to go I am not mad. I wish he — and the Spurs — handled things a bit differently but you cannot change the past.