“I think he’s getting bad advice. I think what you’re starting to see now is an individual given a certain amount of advice, and it’s not the right advice. Here it is: You were protected in San Antonio. You were able to come up during a time where you still could lean on Tim [Duncan], Tony [Parker] and Manu [Ginobili] .”
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith said he sympathized with Bowen, who was hired by the Clippers last season to partner Ralph Lawler. Speaking on his show, Smith said Bowen’s stance over Leonard was correct, but given the connection with the Spurs, the former had left himself open to having his objectivity questioned.
“Bruce Bowen was a 1000 percent right in what he said,” Smith explained.
“He just shouldn’t have been the one who said it. Because you work for the San Antonio Spurs, nobody is going to believe that you’re coming from an authentic position. Everyone is going to look at you and their belief is going to be that you’re singing that song and dance on behalf of the organization.”
Leonard was subsequently traded to the Toronto Raptors along with Danny Green, in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick. However, Leonard could become a free agent next year and the Clippers are said to be ready to aggressively court him in free agency to bring him back to his hometown.