Nick Wright reveals his theory on Gregg Popovich’s role in the Spurs – Kawhi Leonard saga

Video Details

In his reaction to Stephen Jackson's brutally honest opinion on what's going on in San Antonio's locker room, Nick Wright reveals to Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe his theory on Gregg Popovich's role in the ever-evolving Spurs - Kawhi Leonard saga. Do you agree with Nick?

- Stephen has had an instance where Pop-- not apples to apples-- but a similar instance where Pop went to him and asked him to say something to the team that, by the way, Stephen didn't believe, and Stephen ended up leaving the team because of it. Stephen's told this story before. But Stephen was killing-- I think it was-- Ginobili regularly in practice, and Ginobili's confidence was down.

And Pop went to Stephen Jackson and said, I need-- they're not going to hear it coming from me. I need you to say to the team, you're better than me.

CRIS CARTER: They were getting ready for a playoff push.

- They were getting ready for a playoff push. And I think the player was Ginobili. For the story, I'll make it Ginobili. I need you to say in front of the team, Manu, you're better than me. You should be playing. And Stephen couldn't do it. Stephen said Coach, I can't do it. You've got to cut me. And Coach did cut him.

By the way, despite that, I want people to also understand this. Stephen Jackson has said on the air and off the air-- I'm not revealing confidences here-- he loves Popovich. That's his favorite coach. So he's not looking for a reason to take a shot at Gregg Popovich here. He's simply using his insight and his history with this team to say what he believes is happening.

Why I'm so glad to hear this from Stephen Jackson is, last week, when he talked about this, it was so frustrating to me, because I couldn't make sense of what was going on. And now, after hearing that, I think I have a better idea of what's going on. I truly believe what's going on is this-- that Pop believes once Kawhi plays in a game, once he comes back, he will realize, oh, I can do it-- that Pop was trying to-- initially, through Pop's public comments about setting a deadline, and then through the team meeting-- trying to exert enough pressure on Kawhi to get him back out on the court.

Because I believe Pop thinks, you're going to be OK. You don't trust yourself. You don't trust the injury. But if you get out there, you'll see it. You'll experience it.

I don't think Pop is trying to risk Kawhi's long-term health for this season. I think he really believes, this is what's best for the player. You're not hearing it from me. Maybe you'll hear from your teammates. That's what I think is going on.