On the eve of 2021 NBA free agency, Kawhi Leonard will opt out of his player option with the LA Clippers. He is expected to negotiate a new deal with the team.
With a $36 million player option remaining on his contract for the upcoming 2021-22 NBA season, Kawhi Leonard is opting out and heading for unrestricted free agency.
This expected news, first reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes on the eve of 2021 NBA free agency, is hardly a surprise. Leonard is eligible for a new contract, so it makes sense financially for him to cash in now.
However, for fans of other teams who are already giving their hopes up, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Leonard is expected to negotiate a new deal to re-sign with the LA Clippers (also as expected).
Kawhi Leonard is opting out but will likely remain with Clippers
At age 30, Leonard could be heading for the last major payday of his career to re-sign with the Clippers. LA may have fallen short against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals, in a series where he was unable to play, but they never would’ve reached their first conference finals appearance in franchise history without the Klaw.
In 52 appearances this season, Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and a career-high 5.2 assists per game on 51.2 percent shooting from the floor and 39.8 percent shooting from 3-point range. He earned an All-Star selection, a First Team All-NBA selection and Second Team All-Defensive Team selection in the process for a 47-win team.
Luckily for the Clippers, it doesn’t appear that their best player will be going anywhere, even as he opts out of the final year of his contract as expected. Leonard could sign a one-year max deal with a player option for the second year to keep his options open, or he could sign for a multi-year max deal. Whatever he wants, expect the Clippers to abide.