Kawhi Leonard’s last foray into free agency was met with mystery and excitement — but not this time. The word around the NBA is that Leonard will stay put in Los Angeles.
“Leonard is still widely, well, expected to re-sign with the Clippers,” team sources and executives believe, according to The Athletic.
The move would make sense, since the Clippers have already locked in Paul George to a four-year, $190 million contract extension, which provides more incentive for Leonard to remain in LA.
As for what’s at stake — opting in to the final year of his current deal would allow Leonard to make $36 million in 2021-22. Opting out would allow T he Claw to earn even more.
When it comes to Leonard, he rarely discusses his future plans, let alone contract details. However, in December, he gave some unlikely insight into his contract plans for the 2021 offseason.
“Obviously, if I’m healthy, the best decision is to decline the player option,” said Leonard. “But that doesn’t mean I’m leaving or staying. I’m focused on the season, like I said. We’ll talk about that when the time is right.”
Leonard initially signed with the Clippers in 2019, after he made history with the Toronto Raptors by winning the team’s first-ever NBA championship.
The hype around his previous free agency was at an all-time high, but this time it’s different. All eyes will be on Leonard and the Clippers as the latter half of the season plays out. They’re expected to make a deep playoff run following the team’s playoff struggles last postseason in the NBA bubble.