Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports has announced that the Clippers will re-sign superstar Kawhi Leonard, though terms of the agreement are still being negotiated.
This is news that’s not really news. While Kawhi was a free agent, and there were rumors that he was open to “taking meetings” with other teams, there was no expectation at any point that he was leaving LA. Sure enough, when free agency started, all the main suitors (Knicks, Heat, Mavericks) immediately turned to other plans – no team has had enough room to sign Kawhi to a max deal since the first day of free agency, making it a lock that he would return. There haven’t even been any reports of Kawhi taking those meetings, meaning that he’s presumably been only in real contact with the Clippers this summer.
The big piece, of course, is what still isn’t known, which is what deal Kawhi is taking to return. The betting odds are that he will look for a one year deal plus a second year player option. This will enable him to opt out next summer and sign a massive 5 year, $235M supermax contract that would keep him on the Clippers for the remainder of his prime. There is an option for Kawhi to sign a 4 year, approximately $176M this summer, but considering the alternative, this seems unlikely.
It’s good to get the confirmation of the Clippers getting to re-sign Kawhi Leonard, and this is the final major piece in the Clippers’ offseason puzzle. Stay tuned for updates on Kawhi’s contract and any remaining bits of free agency news, as well as summer league!