All-Star Kawhi Leonard is officially set to re-sign with the LA Clippers, sources have confirmed to AllClippers. Chris Haynes from Yahoo Sports was first to report.
The details of the contract are still unclear, but the most likely scenario is that Leonard will sign a two-year deal with a player option on the second year, allowing him to once again become a free agent in 2022 in order for the Clippers to sign him to a five-year max contract with his full Bird rights.
The news doesn’t come as the biggest shock, as numerous reports leading up to free agency cited that Leonard would re-up with LA. Rumblings of him sniffing around other teams can now officially be put to rest.
Leonard will likely spend the first year of this contract rehabilitating his torn ACL. (As Shaquille O’Neal once said, “I got hurt on company time, so I’ll rehab on company time”). Recent reports from Sam Amick revealed that Leonard has still been spending time around the team during his rehab, and was even present for LA’s pre-draft workouts for potential picks.
President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank can now rest a bit easier knowing the biggest free agent fish has been caught, along with two very good mid-sized fish in Nicolas Batum and Reggie Jackson, who re-signed with LA this week as well. Jackson and Batum were instrumental in LA’s run to the Western Conference Finals last postseason, and will be integral to keeping the Clippers competitive while Leonard is rehabbing.
The fact that Leonard has now signed not one, but two contracts with the Clippers is yet another indicator that the franchise has turned a significant corner in terms of its perception around the league. LA’s deep run in the postseason, led by Paul George (who is locked in to a four-year extension that will kick in this season) once Leonard went down with his injury, no-doubt contributed to his decision as well. There’s still no guarantee that he’ll stay long-term, but this signing should be taken as a major milestone.