The San Antonio Spurs are still desperate to keep Kawhi Leonard, general manager R.C. Buford said.

Leonard has reportedly asked the Spurs to trade him to one of the two Los Angeles teams, but he prefers to go to the Lakers.

However, Buford said he was going to try all he can to keep the 2013-14 NBA Finals MVP.

"We'll explore all of our options, but the first one would be to do what we can to keep Kawhi as part of our group," Buford told reporters on Thursday.

Leonard was not pleased this season with how the Spurs handled his injury, nor with how head coach Gregg Popovich or team-mate Tony Parker addressed the issue in the media.

This has resulted in Leonard reportedly being intentionally difficult for the Spurs to reach and actively trying to force a trade.

Buford is not on board with trading the team's star and spoke to what Leonard has done for the franchise.

"Kawhi and his family mean a lot to our organisation and to the community and while none of us would wish we are where we are, we're going to do what we can to build the best relationship with him," he said.

Leonard is a two-time All-Star, but he played just nine games in 2017-18 as he recovered from multiple injuries.