"Vultures are circling," according to ESPN NBA reporter Zach Lowe.
- NBA teams are planning on calling the Spurs to check on Kawhi Leonard's availability after the season.
- ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst still believes that Leonard will end up signing an extension with the Spurs.
- It's shocking the Spurs, a model organization known for not having off-the-court drama, would be dealing with this kind of tension with one of its star players.
With reports indicating that there is still tension between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs as he continues to recover from a quadriceps injury, other teams are seeing a window of opportunity to nab an MVP-caliber player in his prime and planning moves accordingly, according to reporting from Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
"At the end of this season, teams will call the Spurs, and inquire about the availability of Kawhi Leonard," Windhorst said on Outside the Lines. "And the fact that that would even happen is a dramatic shift that none of us could have foreseen coming."
Windhorst's report was backed up by his fellow ESPN NBA reporter Zach Lowe, who said on Twitter, "Vultures are circling, in hopes of action around the draft."
Windhorst did clarify that he thinks "the most likely scenario" is for Leonard to sign an extension with San Antonio this offseason.
Still, that the possibility of a trade even exists is an astonishing development, considering that the Spurs have been, for over two decades, the textbook example of a harmonious and drama-free NBA organization, and Leonard seemed in many ways to be a model Spur.
"I think we're seeing a shift in Kawhi's career a little bit, he's hired new representation, he's fighting a hard war with the Jordan Brand over a new shoe contract, he's seeking more input from outside doctors . . . so we're maybe seeing a maturation of Kawhi, and there are people out there, who may be from the player's side, who would compliment him for pushing back, and trying to take control of his own career."
Windhorst went on to note that the Spurs have dealt with player discontent before, such as when LaMarcus Aldridge requested a trade last summer.
"I do think that the Spurs are better equipped than almost any franchise to handle this, and I do think ultimately Kawhi Leonard has a working history with them, and I think he wants it to work," Windhorst said.
Given how rare it is for a star player, and a star player from the Spurs, in particular, to become available, it's no wonder other NBA teams are watching this closely.