As the start of 2021 NBA free agency grows ever closer, more and more evidence begins to mount that Kawhi Leonard will remain an LA Clipper following his opt-out on Sunday.
The latest bit of evidence comes from The Athletic’s Sam Amick, who in a recent article reported evidence of Leonard’s healthy and involved relationship with LA’s front office.
“Per sources,” Amick wrote, “Leonard attended several recent workouts for their draft prospects (more than he had in the past) and has been in frequent communication with the team’s staff as free agency neared.”
Attending draft prospect workouts seems to imply Leonard is looking towards his future in LA. These prospects (Keon Johnson, Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr.) can develop under Leonard’s eye as he recovers from his ACL surgery should he re-sign. Ideally, they’ll grow into useful pieces by the time he returns.
Amick also reported in the same article that LA’s front office has been confident about Leonard staying put.
“A rival executive said Clippers front-office officials have been operating as if they expected to have Leonard in the fold,” he wrote.
These reports reinforce Sunday’s reporting from Chris Haynes and Adrian Wojnarowski, who both relayed that the league-wide belief is that Leonard will re-sign with the Clippers.
Leonard’s opt-out points to him signing a two-year deal with LA, with a player option on the second year. This will allow him to once again become a free agent in 2022, and sign a five-year max contract with the Clippers worth $235 million.
Free agency officially begins Monday, Aug. 2 at 3 p.m.