Free agent forward Kawhi Leonard has signed a three-year, $103 million deal with the L.A. Clippers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Leonard will have a player option in his third year, which will line up with new teammate Paul George, allowing both players to become free agents in 2021 if Leonard choose to opt out of the last year of his deal.
Leonard was expected to sign a four-year max deal, but he has instead opted for the flexibility of a two-plus-one, as many other players have done in recent years.
This can put some pressure on the Clippers, who will have two years to prove to their prized free agent that the organization can guarantee him success, along with George. It also signifies that the Clippers are also confident they can make this fast a turnaround, going from the eighth seed this past season to a prominent contender for the title.
If the Clippers can't deliver, this could quickly turn into a mess, as the organization gave up five first-round draft picks to trade for George and net Leonard's commitment to the franchise.
L.A. can lose not only Leonard, but also George in 2021, presumably for nothing if they are caught off guard about their desire to take their talents elsewhere.
If it all goes well, though, the Clippers should have no problem re-signing Leonard to a hefty deal in the future, already boasting the comfort of being close to his hometown along with two years of rapport.