Never before the San Antonio Spurs faced the kind of distraction they are dealing now with Kawhi Leonard since head coach Gregg Popovich joined the organization. Leonard’s situation has drawn massive attention from the media, creating an uncomfortable environment for his Spurs teammates this season.

Leonard will have an eventful summer ahead with his contract extension negotiation looming in the picture. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year and perennial All-Star is eligible for a huge pay-hike in the form of a five-year, $217 million mega-extension.

The Spurs, known for their conservative stance when it comes to doling out multi-year contracts, will be entering uncharted waters once contract negotiation with Leonard’s camp begins. The two-way superstar has a history of being headstrong in negotiations, so it’s definitely interesting what will transpire from this summer’s extension talks.

The Plan B for the Spurs

According to a reliable team source, the Spurs would welcome trade offers from interested teams should they fail to lock up Kawhi to a long-term deal this summer. The source added that the Spurs will try to convince their superstar to agree to a small pay-cut since the original max deal will significantly deter their ability to add talents around him.

When it comes to Kawhi’s recovery from his quad injury, the Spurs organization will remain 100 percent behind their franchise player until he finally gets medically cleared to resume playing. There’s still no timetable when Leonard will make his comeback, but the Spurs would still consider integrating him to the team for the postseason grind.

What’s the deal?

This is a huge piece of information that could have major implications for Leonard’s future in San Antonio. The Spurs have been widely viewed in and outside the NBA as a first-class sports organization. They always tackled their problems closed door, not letting the media blow things out of proportion.

However, the Kawhi injury saga has become a huge distraction for the Spurs throughout the season.

For the first time in many years, Popovich is actually sorting out a locker room tension between Leonard and Tony Parker and Co. That paints a bad picture for an organization revered by many as the gold standard of a sports franchise.

Of course, the drama surrounding the quad injury won’t affect the contract negotiations. Locking up Kawhi, arguably the most dominant two-way non-big man player in the game today, to a long-term deal will be the utmost priority for the Spurs front-office.

However, if both parties fail to find some middle ground and hammer a deal, the chances of Leonard getting shipped out of San Antonio increases dramatically, and big-market teams and contenders would not think twice placing offers for a bona fide superstar like Leonard.