RUMOR: Kawhi Leonard’s free agency plan that will worry Clippers
Kawhi Leonard is expected to decline his player option with the Los Angeles Clippers for the 2021-22 season, and according to the latest reports, he will be open to listening to other offers.
Leonard will become an unrestricted free agent once he turn down the $36 million player option he has. While the expectations are he will re-sign with the Clippers, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports noted that the superstar forward will explore his options.
“It looks like [Kawhi] is expected to re-sign with the Clippers, but sources informed me that he will listen to other teams,” Haynes said of Leonard’s plan, per NBA TV.
Kawhi Leonard is expected to have plenty of suitors in free agency, with the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat coming in as serious contenders to get his services should he decide to leave LA. However, given that Kawhi is from LA and has established his roots there, it’s hard to see him leaving for another team.
As reported earlier, ESPN’s Bobby Marks shared a number of options that Leonard can take in his free agency. One of the options for Kawhi is taking a two-year deal with a player option in the second season. With that, he can opt out of the second year of his contract and be eligible to sign what could be the largest contract in the history of the NBA: a five-year, $235 million deal.
The maximum contract that Leonard could sign with the Clippers is:
4 years- $176M
He could also do a 1+1 and become a FA in 2022 where he could sign a 5 year $235M contract. https://t.co/SFip6GGfdM
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 1, 2021
Furthermore, it is worth noting that Leonard is still recovering from a partial ACL tear that sidelined him in the latter part of their 2021 playoffs run. With that said, any team that will pursue him will have to be patient in his recovery. There is still no timetable for his return.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 2, 2021
It will certainly be intriguing to see where Leonard ends up with. The Clippers are a safe bet since Kawhi is viewed as the team’s hero who can get them out of their postseason miseries. However, the NBA is still a business and a lot of unexpected things can happen.