Drexler: No One Knows What Went Wrong

Clyde Drexler weighed in on Kawhi Leonard, Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard, among other topics

Tiki and Tierney
July 18, 2018 - 5:22 pm

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After months of rumors and speculation and drama, the San Antonio Spurs parted ways with former NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard on Wednesday. The Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected first-round pick.

And still there are more questions than answers.

“No one can figure out what went wrong,” Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler said on Tiki and Tierney. “Popovich is one of the better coaches – everyone loves Pop, he’s a legend. He basically tutored and Leonard learned under his tutelage to become an All-Star, a superstar player. So it’s rare that a guy who drafted you and who loves you, it’s rare that that relationship goes sour, especially for a franchise like the Spurs and what Popovich has been able to bring to the table. So everyone is shocked by that, and we still are trying to find out what’s the problem.”

It seems there was miscommunication between Leonard and the Spurs regarding his quad injury. From the outside looking in, it appears Popovich felt he couldn’t get through to Leonard, so he asked other players to do it for him.

That backfired completely, with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili taking not-so-veiled shots at the 27-year-old.

“That’s what I think went on,” Drexler said. “That didn’t go so well with Kawhi Leonard. He’s a soft-spoken guy, but obviously he was injured and the players didn’t know the severity of his injury, so they discounted his decision. That completed backfired, I believe. . . . Hopefully (the trade) will work out for both (San Antonio and Toronto).”

Drexler also weighed in on Carmelo Anthony. The Rockets are reportedly interested in the 34-year-old, but Brandon Tierney doesn’t know why, as Anthony is a shell of his former self.

Drexler, however, disagrees.

“I’m a Carmelo fan and have been for many years because he can still put the ball in the basket,” Drexler said. “Now, is he the same guy he was five years ago? I don’t think any of us are. But for the most part, he’s still able to contribute 20 points a game on the right situation. I think he could help any team, especially a team that won 65 games last year.”

Drexler also discussed Damian Lillard, who is among the most underrated players in basketball. But after six years in the league, Lillard wants to win – and he doesn’t have much help.

Will Portland ever be a free-agent destination?

“It is a wonderful place to play basketball because they love Blazer basketball,” said Drexler, who played in Portland for 11.5 seasons. “Damian Lillard is a phenomenal basketball player. I love watching him play. But if they don’t get him some help, they take a chance on losing him.”

Lillard averaged 26.9 points, 6.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds last season, but Portland was swept in the first round of the playoffs by New Orleans.

“They need some help,” Drexler said of the Blazers. “The backcourt is not enough to win in the playoffs. They’ve got to find a way to bring him some front-court help so that they can advance beyond the first round of the playoffs.”