Clips keep Kawhi on 4-year, $176.3M max deal

Kawhi Leonard will remain with the LA Clippers long term after re-signing with the team Thursday, the team announced.

Terms of the deal weren’t revealed by the Clippers, but a source confirmed with ESPN that Leonard signed a four-year, $176.3 million max deal that includes a player option in the fourth year.

Leonard previously declined his player option for $36 million this coming season to become a free agent.

Leonard’s signing on Thursday was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

“Kawhi is a transcendent player and a relentless worker who improves himself every day,” said Lawrence Frank, the team’s president of basketball operations in a statement. “We share many of the same goals, which include a long-term relationship. This agreement marks another important moment for our franchise and our fans, as we strive to create a championship-caliber organization, where players find the success and fulfillment they seek. We’re eager to continue building with Kawhi.”

Leonard is expected to miss significant time this season as he makes his way back from surgery on July 13 to repair a partially torn right ACL that kept him out of the Clippers’ final eight playoff games.

The two-time Finals MVP joined other veterans such as Paul George and Reggie Jackson in attendance at the Clippers’ first two games this week at Summer League in Las Vegas.

“For now, we will do whatever we can to support him in his recovery from injury,” Frank said in the team statement. “We look forward to seeing him back where he wants to be, on the court with his teammates.”

The Clippers have spent this offseason keeping their core largely intact after reaching their first Western Conference Finals this past season. The Clippers have re-signed Leonard, Jackson and Nicolas Batum. Serge Ibaka opted into the second year of his deal to return, and the team added forward Justise Winslow to help fill the void left by Leonard’s knee injury.

Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 52 regular-season games during his second campaign with the Clippers. He joined the Clippers as a free agent in the biggest summer of the franchise’s existence in 2019 when the team added Leonard and traded five first-round picks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to Oklahoma City for George.

The Clippers have now signed both Leonard and George to long-term contracts. Before Leonard’s knee injury, the Clippers got a glimpse of their potential with Leonard and George playing their best basketball together on the playoff stage. Leonard averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 57.3% in 11 postseason games. George averaged 26.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists during the playoffs to help the Clippers reach the Western Conference Finals.

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