The quest for that elusive max contract will have to continue for Kawhi Leonard, his agent confirmed Friday afternoon.
Leonard’s rep, Brian Elfus, says his client is disappointed that a deal couldn’t be reached with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. There’s a Friday midnight extension deadline for 2011 NBA Draft class members.
Kawhi will become a restricted free agent next summer. He averaged 29 minutes, 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, two assists and 1.7 steals last season, and became the second-youngest Finals MVP in League history.
Per Yahoo! Sports:
“We feel Kawhi is deserving of a max contract, and we are disappointed that something couldn’t get done,” Elfus said. “There’s no debating Kawhi’s value. The market has been set. He’s done everything the Spurs have asked of him, exceeded all of their expectations. Coach [Gregg] Popovich has gone out of his way to call Kawhi the future face of the franchise. We have great respect for the Spurs organization, but here, we simply agree to disagree.
“There will be no shortage of teams interested in Kawhi’s services next year. There will be a lot of contract scenarios available to us, and we will explore them all.”
San Antonio could sign Leonard to a five-year, $90 million-plus extension now or next summer, if the Spurs are willing to make him their designated player. The Spurs want to keep Leonard’s salary off the books until they have a chance to explore free-agent targets next summer, especially if Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili retire, league sources said.