The LA Clippers are gearing up for a push toward an NBA title. Kawhi Leonard is ready to make last year’s playoff woes a distant memory. Before the Clippers begin that path, Leonard may have already decided on his NBA future that should excite the fan base.
Kawhi Leonard’s strong second campaign in LA
The Clippers headed into this season motivated by the memory of a disappointing playoff collapse.
LA responded by securing a top-four record in the Western Conference while their star players led the charge. Leonard earned his fifth All-Star Game selection behind averaging 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists on 51.2% shooting from the floor and 39.8% from 3-point range.
Leonard missed a significant chunk of games due to a foot injury, but he managed to play out the final stretch. He tallied a pair of 20-point performances in the six games he played in May.
Before the Clippers begin their playoff run, the star forward may have already decided his NBA future beyond this year.
Kawhi Leonard may already have decided on his Clippers future
The big elephant in the room around Leonard concerns his long-term future.
Leonard is in the second year of his three-year, $103.1 million contract that includes a $36 million option for the 2021-22 season. As that crucial decision nears closer, there hasn’t been clarity.
However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently revealed on The WOJ Pod that Leonard is likely staying with the Clippers.
“I think Kawhi is staying with the Clippers,” Woj said via Mason Bissada of SI.com). “He hasn’t said that publicly, and he probably won’t until the day he signs that contract. I know there’s been some mention of Miami. ‘Could Miami be a sleeper for him?’
“I think he’s where he wants to be geographically. I think he’s gotten along very well with the organization, with management, with ownership.”
The 29-year-old is where he wants to be playing in his hometown. Meanwhile, the Clippers have rolled out the red carpet on and off the court, while constructing a strong group of talent.
Leonard will likely opt out of the final year of his contract and sign another multi-year deal. He may position himself to secure one more lucrative contract after his next one.
Beyond that, the latest report should put to bed any concerns.
Clippers are eyeing NBA title push
Before Leonard addresses his pending contract situation, the focus remains solely on competing for an NBA title.
The Clippers secured the fourth seed in the Western Conference, setting up a first-round rematch against the Dallas Mavericks. LA enters the series healthy, eyeing a deep postseason run.
The Mavericks gave the Clippers a run for their money, pushing the series to six games. Luka Doncic lit up the Clippers averaging 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 8.7 assists while shooting 50%. Doncic posted a pair of triple-doubles along with hitting a game-winner in Game 4.
Last year’s shortcoming should serve as a strong reminder to push LA forward. George holds plenty of motivation to put last year’s playoffs woes completely behind him.
The 31-year-old is coming off an impressive 2020-21 campaign, averaging 23.3 points on 46.7% shooting from the floor and 41.1% from 3-point range, along with 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists.
The table is set for the Clippers to finally get over the playoff hump and contend for an NBA title.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.