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REPORT: Kawhi Leonard makes shocking decision on future with Clippers

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers, Mavs

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is expected to decline his $36 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Sunday, August 1, is Leonard’s deadline to make a decision on his contract option with the Clippers.

For what it’s worth, the general belief was that Kawhi Leonard would opt out of his contract and re-sign with the Clippers. Last week, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that Leonard choosing to stay in LA with the Clips was no longer a “safe assumption,” but multiple reports have said there’s no indication Leonard is even considering leaving Los Angeles in free agency.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Leonard has a number of options, one of which is signing a two-year deal with a player option for the second season. He will then be able to opt out of the second year and sign the largest contract in NBA history: a five-year, $235 million deal.

Earlier in July, Leonard underwent surgery to repair a partially torn ACL in his right knee. It was the same injury that sidelined him throughout the Western Conference Finals, where the Clippers eventually lost to the Phoenix Suns.

There is no timetable for his return from injury, but he is expected to miss a huge chunk of the 2021-22 season as he recovers from the surgery and undergoes rehab.

Whether he re-signs with the Clippers on a better deal or explore free agency given the contract he can command remains to be seen. However, fans don’t have to wait  for long to know his decision since free agency begins August 2, Monday.