Having missed the last two games of their series against the Jazz and all of their series against the Suns, it seems that Kawhi Leonard’s time in Los Angeles could be coming to an end. Paul George has played out of his mind this season and resurrected himself as a bona fide super star in this league while leading the Clippers to their first conference finals in franchise history. But even that isn’t a clear enough reason for The Klaw to stay.
With Leonard set to hit free agency this summer and previously having turned down an extension with the team, it’s safe to assume that he’ll be testing the market in summer 2021. Having said all this, let’s take a look at the three teams Kawhi Leonard could leave the Clippers for this offseason.
Kawhi Leonard’s Best Free Agency Spots
Given Leonard’s injury history and the track record of the Miami Heat’s training staff, this pairing is a match made in heaven. With their top-notch training staff he’d be able to stay healthy for longer periods of time while giving this team the additional superstar they’ve desperately been trying to acquire for the past few years. Not to mention the grit and tenacity of the Heat culture that is led by Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler would be able to elevate Kawhi’s dominant two-way play to even greater heights.
A trio of Leonard, Butler, and Bam Adebayo would be a defensive juggernaut that’s armed with a versatile scoring threat tailor-made to wear out opponents on a nightly basis. Adding Leonard to this deep and dynamic Heat squad would transform them into instant title contenders and make them the team to beat in the eastern conference. The biggest questions would be getting Leonard to buy into #HeatCulture. But Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard would definitely be the most entertaining and unlikely pairing in the league.
One of the biggest surprises of this year, the Knicks were able to to revive their franchise back into a top four team in the Eastern onference and earned their first playoff berth in almost a decade. With rising stars in Julius Randle and RJ Barrett leading the way for this young Knicks team, the addition of Kawhi Leonard would bring them to dark horse contender status, especially with defensive guru Tom Thibodeau leading the way for this upstart Knicks squad.
Leonard would bring his championship pedigree and clutch play to a Knicks team that hasn’t been past the first round of the playoffs since Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire were in town. A Knicks squad that possesses the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and a rejuvenated Derrick Rose would definitely make a lot of noise and climb the ranks of the Eastern Conference while showing potential for a deep playoff run.
A Western Conference powerhouse looking to re-tool and bounce back in a major way next season, adding Leonard to a deep and athletic squad that possesses some of the elite young stars of the league would make the Denver Nuggets the team to beat in the out West. With a starting line up of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Kawhi Leonard, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets would boast the best starting five in the NBA and arguably one of the greatest ever assembled.
Their ball movement and multi-faceted scoring would pick apart defenses all year long and the addition of Leonard would transform their perimeter defense. With the acquisition of Leonard, they would also be getting a veteran superstar with championship experience that could impart some wisdom and knowledge to this contender in the making. Already a two-time finals MVP, Leonard could show the way for Jokic and Murray, helping one of them earn their first finals MVP in the process.