Cris Carter on Kawhi’s absence on Spurs: ‘There’s a reason he’s not going out there, I trust his judgment’

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In his discussion with Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe, Cris Carter unveils why he trusts Kawhi Leonard's judgment on not rushing back out onto the court, noting that if the San Antonio Spurs' star player could play, he would be out on the hardwoods competing with his teammates.

- I don't need glasses. I don't wear glasses.

- I get it, guys. I wear glasses.

- But let me tell you what I see in this story. I happen to know Kawhi. I happen to know the people around Kawhi. And in situations like this, all you can really do is go on the reputation of the player. And there's no one that has a better reputation as far as working hard, a guy who's not about drama, than Kawhi Leonard.

Now, all of a sudden, people think-- Nick, you just said-- you're perplexed by it. If Kawhi said he can't play, if he could play, he'd be out there. There's a reason why he's not going out there. It has nothing to do with basketball. It has nothing to do with contract or making money.

He doesn't feel as if he can perform at the level that he's used to. And when he was out on the court healthy, he was one of the top five NBA players. He doesn't feel like he can play to that level. And I trust his reputation. I trust his judgment.

It's his talent. We have seen no crack in his personality that would lead us to believe that Kawhi, if he could play, that he wouldn't be out there. So, for me, knowing the player, knowing the people around the player, if Kawhi was healthy, Kawhi would be out there playing for San Antonio.

- But let me ask you this though, CC-- because I know you know Kawhi. And I know you know his circle. But I think it's fair to say his teammates know him better. How rare is it, as a pro athlete, to have other teammates--

CRIS CARTER: His teammates don't know if he can play.

- No, no, no. Nobody knows that but Kawhi. I understand that. But how rare is that, as a pro athlete, to have a player say, I'm too hurt to play, and have his teammates in a players-only meeting, say, you should be playing.

- I don't know that that's what was in the meeting. I don't know. I didn't hear one San Antonio player saying to Kawhi, you should be playing, and Kawhi is saying, I can't play.

- Well, if nothing else, at least--

- So I don't believe that part happened.

- But you--

- I didn't see that in the report. All right? I don't see any player being able to verify that they questioned if Kawhi could play because there was also reports coming out that the players were really supportive of Kawhi. They personally wanted to hear from Kawhi if he was able to play.