Kawhi Leonard has recently spoken out and said that the best option for him will be to decline his player option for the 2021-2022 season. On December 21st, Kawhi said, “Just for my situation right now, I’m just focused on this season. Not saying I’m going anywhere else or staying here, but I’m just focused on the season.” Following up on this, Leonard said, “Obviously, if I’m healthy, the best decision is to decline the player option.”
What does this mean for Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers? For Kawhi Leonard, it means that he has the chance to earn up to $39.5 million in free agency instead of the $36 million he would be paid by the Clippers. The Los Angeles Clippers recently resigned Paul George to a huge contract, likely to help keep Leonard in LA. That plan may have just backfired in their faces, however. George is coming off one of his worst postseasons in history, and is showing some clear signs of slowing down.
For the Clippers, this is not good. They should be on Defcon 2 right now, with Defcon 1 being him saying that he 100% will opt out. The Clippers must do everything in their power to keep Kawhi, as they traded away nearly all recent draft picks to acquire him and George, and will stand to only lose and gain nothing if he does leave them.
There is also an investigation underway by the NBA, as executive of the Clippers Jerry West received a voicemail from a man named Johnny Wilkes. In the voicemail, Wilkes said that West owed him $2.5 million for helping to recruit Leonard to the Clippers. While Adam Silver said he expects to find nothing, you never know.
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