Two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard signed a four-year, $176 million contract extension with the LA Clippers on Thursday. The 30-year-old had previously declined a player option for $36 million the upcoming season to become a free agent.
The five-time All-Star had previously declined to extend his stay in LA and was linked with a move away from the Clippers. However, it now appears that Leonard will remain with the Clippers for the foreseeable future.
Kawhi Leonard re-signs with LA Clippers ahead of free agency
Earlier on Thursday, reports from the Athletic revealed that Kawhi Leonard signed a supermax, four-year contract extension with the LA Clippers. It is believed that Leonard will rake in over $176 million over the course of those four years in LA.
Leonard joined the Clippers in 2019 on a two-year deal after winning the NBA Championship with the Toronto Raptors. Over two years in LA, he averaged 24.8 points per game (on 51/40/89 shooting splits) over 34.1 minutes per game.
His stellar displays led the team into the postseason last campaign. However, Leonard sustained an ACL injury which didn’t see him feature in any of the Clippers’ final eight playoff games.
Leonard picked up his injury against the Utah Jazz and didn’t play in the final two games of the postseason. However, the Clippers were still able to get past the top-seeded team in the Western Conference.
But in the absence of Leonard, the Clippers were eliminated in the semifinals by the Phoenix Suns.
During the offseason, Leonard had surgery on his partially torn ACL. However, there is no timescale on when he will return to action.
Nevertheless, he is expected to miss out on the start of the 2021-22 NBA season. The Clippers will be hoping that Leonard’s return to action will be sooner rather than later.
LA Clippers aiming for Championship glory in 2022?
With Leonard staying put in LA, the Clippers have managed to keep the core of their team intact. Seven-time NBA ALl-Star Paul George signed a four-year, $190 million extension in December 2020. George had a blistering postseason last term but it was evident that the Clippers were missing Leonard in the playoffs.
The Clippers also re-signed guard Reggie Jackson and forward Nicolas Batum and signed forward Justise Winslow. Center Serge Ibaka also opted into the final year of his contract with the Clippers.
With a strong foundation, the Clippers will be eager to end their drought for an NBA Championship heading into the new season.