Kawhi Leonard could become an unrestricted free agent by declining his $ 36 million player option. However, it looks like the forward star is still expected to return to the Los Angeles Clippers regardless of the decision on his player option.
“I have no indication that Kawhi Leonard is interested in doing anything other than signing back with the Clippers and rehabilitating this injury.” Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (H / t Bleacher Report) said Sunday on the “Woj & Lowe Free Agency Special”.
Leonard, who ripped off his ACL during the playoffs, could miss the entire 2021-22 campaign. ESPN’s Zach Lowe noted that teams will still be interested in the five-time All-Star despite the injury, but the Clippers are looking forward to signing him again this season.
Leonard signed with the Clippers in 2019, teaming up with Paul George to make contests for the LA instant title. However, the club did not reach the NBA Finals despite the addition.
Still, Leonard is one of the best players in the league when he’s healthy, and he could lead the Clippers to the NBA Finals with a few more additions. The 30-year-old averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game last season while shooting 51.2% from the field and 39.8% from deep.
With Leonard likely sidelined for next season, however, George and the rest of the LA roster should step up in their absence if the club hopes to return to the playoffs.