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Should we worry about Kawhi Leonard?

Good morning. We have that and more in Monday’s NBA newsletter.

San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets - Game Three Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Spurs announced Friday that Kawhi Leonard will miss San Antonio's season opener against the Timberwolves on Wednesday. Kawhi hasn't played at all this preseason due to rehab on an injured quadriceps.

What's perhaps more worrisome is that Gregg Popovich says there's no timetable for Leonard's return.

The Spurs don't reveal much about their players' maladies or when we can expect to see them back. But Kawhi has such outsized importance as not just the Spurs' engine, but an MVP front-runner, that every game he misses has a wider impact.

You can't imagine that Popovich would slow-walk Leonard into the lineup knowing what's at stake for the team and the player this season. That means that in all likelihood, Kawhi's missing Game 1 because he's actually really injured.

Is it time to freak out? It seems like it might be time to freak out.

If he isn’t playing by the end of the week, something is really wrong.

Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside engaged in large-scale TWITTER BEEF Friday night. It's worth your time. (Hassan won this by the way. Easily.)

Money alert: The Cavaliers cut something like $13 million in salary and tax penalties by trading Richard Jefferson and Kay Felder to the Hawks for draft rights to European players you have likely never heard of. The Hawks will cut Jefferson, who should join another team and hopefully start a hilarious podcast. It turns out the Cavaliers almost traded him out of spite a year ago when he spoiled the team's championship rings on Snapchat.

The Thunder have upped the Halloween ante this year, possibly out of respect for the now retired Paul Pierce. First, Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison put together an excellent White Men Can't Jump tribute. Then Carmelo Anthony busted out a very accurate Night King costume.

North Carolina has been under NCAA investigation seemingly forever over fake classes that athletes got As in for doing nada. UNC walked without penalty. Here's why. Now, Ricky O'Donnell writes, Roy Williams should be able to pull more blue blood prospects.

Helping St. Croix with Tim Duncan.

Ugh. C.J. McCollum left the bench to grab his teammate during an altercation in the Blazers' final preseason game. Because rules are rules, the NBA suspended McCollum for Portland's opener against the Suns on Wednesday. The bad news is that this is a bummer. The good news is that the opponent is the Suns.

This story on DeAndre' Bembry's brother and best friend is worth your time.

Zach Lowe's 32 crazy predictions for the season (which I have not read yet as I complete my predictions piece).

Meet the 2020 NBA champs, the Minnesota Timberwolves.

What do the Warriors have left to accomplish?

Is Kyrie Irving the future of point guards?

A British comedian had a surprise viral hit rapping under the moniker Big Shaq, which angered Shaq, who wrote a diss track with a producer named Shaqisdope. Weird but true.

Bill Laimbeer is leaving the New York Liberty to coach the relocated Stars in Las Vegas. This is kind of weird because the Liberty are really good and the Stars are quite bad.

Kendrick Perkins, greatest teammate ever. (He got cut by the Cavaliers on Sunday and may transition to the coaching staff.)