Danny Kanell on Kawhi Leonard sitting out of Spurs games despite being cleared: ‘This drives me nuts!’

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In his conversation with Chris Broussard, Danny Kanell taps into his unique experience as a professional athlete to reveal why Kawhi Leonard continuing to sit out despite being cleared by San Antonio's medical staff is neither beneficial for the Spurs or Kawhi. Do you agree with Kanell's analysis?

- Chris, does Kawhi owe it to the Spurs to play?

- I don't think so. I mean, obviously, he's being paid a lot of money. But look at Isaiah Thomas. And that's how Kawhi and other players look at this thing. Like, this is a guy that went out and played hurt. Now, I know people are-- there's a question, is Kawhi really hurt? In his mind, he believes he's hurt.

This is a guy that's been one of the toughest guys in the league the last several years. So I don't know what the issue is with him. I know the Spurs will tell you that throughout his history, way before this injury, he just wanted to be 100% before he got out on the floor. Little nagging injuries, whatever it might be, he wants to be fine-- perfect when he's going out there.

And he's looking at an Isaiah Thomas situation, oh, play through the hip injury, play when his sister was tragically killed in a car accident. It was inspirational during the playoffs, and what did you do? You traded him. Now, he's lost tens of millions of dollars. So I'm going to side with Kawhi on this one. I know it might not be the popular opinion.

- This drives me nuts. Every player, at some point in their career, has to play at 70%, 80%. If you're not all in-- not only has the Spurs medical staff cleared him, but also, a second opinion has said, he's fine. And I'm sure this is driving Pop nuts. But you want to be careful if you're Kawhi, who has been a tough player.

You don't want to get labeled as soft. And more importantly, you don't want to lose the respect of your teammates who are in there every day-- and I wonder if they're sitting there saying, oh, here he is again. Like, he can't play because he's not 100%. You do not want to get that. And if you're the Spurs, are you going to give up $217 to a guy who only plays when he's 100%? That'd concern me.