Spurs coach Popovich on Kawhi trade: ‘Time to move on’
MANILA, Philippines – Just as the free agency buzz was dying down in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs dropped another bombshell by trading embattled franchise superstar Kawhi Leonard up north to the Toronto Raptors for their own franchise cornerstone DeMar DeRozan.
As the world of social media is again fluttering with discussions on how the Spurs core got shattered and on which team won the trade, San Antonio’s living legend head coach Gregg Popovich plainly stated that everyone should just turn away from the past.
“At this point, it’s time to move on,” the 5-time NBA champion coach told SportsCenter. “I’m concerned about Jakob (Poeltl) and DeMar (DeRozan) and our basketball team and putting that together. We got a lot of young kids, and it’s exciting.”
“But in no way, shape or form does it do any good to go back in time and talk about A, B or C,” Popovich emphasized. "It’s time to move on.”
Coach Popovich addresses the media after today's trade. pic.twitter.com/dzl6dlwUI8— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 18, 2018
However, the 69-year-old tactician did have kind words for his former protégé, who is not even interested in playing with the reigning Eastern Conference Atlantic Division champions, according to Sports Illustrated.
“Kawhi conducted himself wonderfully while he was here,” Popovich said. “You know, he helped us win a 5th championship. As I said, he was a hard worker all the time and we wish him well.”
Along with Leonard, the Spurs traded veteran swingman Danny Green to the Raptors for prospect center Jakob Poeltl.
Leonard won his first NBA title with the Spurs in 2014 against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Consequently, he also collected his first Finals MVP plum before winning two consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards in the following seasons.
His departure – the second major move that has rocked the emotional core of the once-mighty Texas team – came just two weekas after the exit of 2007 Finals MVP and 16-year mainstay Tony Parker, who signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. – Rappler.com