Clippers star Kawhi Leonard would join Heat over Lakers, claims Stephen A. Smith
ESPN NBA analyst and commentator Stephen A. Smith doesn’t see Kawhi Leonard joining the Los Angeles Lakers if ever he and the Los Angeles Clippers decide to part ways. Instead, Smith thinks The Klaw would sign with the Miami Heat instead.
Before Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, Smith said it is not in the Clippers’ “best interest” to keep Leonard given his leadership style (being a do-it guy instead of a vocal leader) and his injury history. When asked whether he sees Kawhi jumping ship to the Lakers, Stephen A. quickly refuted the idea and noted that he is unsure whether the Purple and Gold have the money to lure the 30-year-old forward.
Not to mention that due to his durability issue, Stephen A. does not believe Kawhi is the right guy to build for a long-term future.
Stephen A seeing Kawhi going to Miami instead of Lakers if he opts out 🐳🐳🐳🐳 pic.twitter.com/OolciUBTMu
— ALdonis S🔪ASHburn™ (@AIR305) June 28, 2021
Kawhi Leonard has a player option for the 2021-22 season, which is why talks about his future in LA continue to heat up in recent days. Fox Sports commentator Skip Bayless added fuel to the fire when he claimed that Leonard is not happy with the Clippers’ medical staff because he felt they misdiagnosed his knee injury and played down its severity–reminding everyone of his unceremonious exit from San Antonio.
Then again, it is pretty ridiculous to think the Clippers would let a Top 5 player in Leonard to walk away after all the moves they made and assets they sacrificed just to build a championship contender with him and Paul George. If you have a championship-caliber player on the roster, you don’t really trade them but instead build around them to contend.