Over the last couple of years, the focus around Kawhi Leonard has been further emphasized behind his rise to stardom as one of the league’s best players. At that same juncture, it has also thrust more scrutiny on the role that Leonard’s uncle Dennis Robertson has played in his life. It made the rounds in the media due to his extensive involvement with his nephew’s free agency process. With that in mind, it was recently revealed what Roberston had asked teams for in the pitch meetings to Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard’s reliance on Uncle Dennis
The focus Leonard’s personal life didn’t start to crop up until things began to fall apart with the San Antonio Spurs. There were many conflicts behind the scenes between both sides stepping over the health of the star forward’s quad that wound up costing him nearly an entire season.
There were rumblings that Robertson played a significant role in the decision-making that Leonard was going through with the situation. Once the Spurs chose to move on from the All-Star forward by trading him to the Toronto Raptors, his presence had shifted to the background a bit more.
Robertson’s presence around Leonard became a prominent topic of discussion during the entire free agency process this past offseason. His ridiculous demands from teams have been brought to light yet again.
Uncle Dennis’ demands from teams
In the last several months, it has been made quite clear that Robertson played a significant role in Leonard’s decision-making process. His involvement with the teams that his nephew courted with meetings was evident.
Ahead of the Christmas Day matchup between the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, there have been some more light shed on Robertson’s demands from teams looking to acquire the 28-year-old’s services, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Sources say the league was told that Robertson asked team officials for part ownership of the team, a private plane that would be available at all times, a house and — last but certainly not least — a guaranteed amount of off-court endorsement money that they could expect if Leonard played for their team. All of those items, to be clear, would fall well outside the confines of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
These are said to be the demands asked of the Lakers and Toronto Raptors during their free agency meetings with Leonard. That had been the case over three phone calls over several days with team president Jeanie Buss, who voiced to Robertson that these requests were “illegal perks” that her team or any other franchise could grant him.
That led to some uncomfortable dialogue between Buss and Leonard’s camp that grew the assumption that they were being used as leverage to get more out of the Clippers. These are frustrating sentiments that are believed that the Lakers still have. Beyond all that, it has led to the NBA to put into effect a rule that would not allow for relatives to be involved in the free agency process any point forward due to Robertson.
Kawhi Leonard moving forward with the Clippers
The idea of Leonard potentially picking the Lakers or returning to the Raptors was bounced around, but when push came to shove, the Clippers always had the upper hand. What sealed the deal for them was their ability to acquire another All-Star in Paul George to play alongside in L.A.
Leonard and George are the centerpieces for the Clippers that have the franchise in a potentially promising position to compete for an NBA title this season and possibly further down the line. He’s now in a situation where he has the full support of the franchise behind him.
If anything, the further unearthing of these demands makes for a more intense budding rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers.