Kawhi Leonard has made yet another surprising decision.
The star forward officially signed with the Clippers, the team announced Wednesday. Leonard signed a 3-year, $103 million deal with a player option in 2021-22, rather than the four-year, $141 million contract he initially was expected to sign, <a href="http://
Leonard has signed a two-plus-one and aligned his contract with Paul George — with both players having the ability via player option to enter 2021 free agency. https://t.co/ZK3Z5huqiu
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 10, 2019
” target=”_blank”>according to The Athletic, which cites unidentified league sources.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) July 10, 2019
This agreement will allow Leonard to become an unrestricted free agent alongside his co-star Paul George in two seasons, which puts a lot of pressure on the Clippers to be successful quickly.
Leonard, the 2019 NBA Finals MVP, declined his player option with the Raptors after their championship run and elected to return to his home state of California. The ruptured Achilles Kevin Durant suffered in Game 5 of this year’s title series made Leonard the most sought-after free agent on the market. He made things interesting by orchestrating a blockbuster deal.
The Clippers, at Leonard’s request, sent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a staggering five future first-round picks to the Thunder for George, making them the favorites to win the championship in 2020.
They went from an eighth seed in the Western Conference to a powerhouse with two All-NBA talents and a strong supporting cast featuring Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.
The Clippers have come back stronger than ever after a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Warriors, but their window to win it all could be smaller than what many thought it would be.