The Los Angeles Clippers landed the biggest fish in free agency this summer. Thanks to a blockbuster trade for Paul George, the Clippers were able to convince Kawhi Leonard to leave the Toronto Raptors and join the team, giving Los Angeles a 1-2 punch to lead them into battle on a nightly basis.
Of course, the frequency with which Leonard will take the floor wasn’t totally clear. The Raptors were creative in giving Leonard days off, holding him out of games and citing load management. He only appeared in 60 regular season games, but between his pesky quad injury never seriously flaring up and Toronto winning a ring, it’s a strategy that worked.
The question now is whether the Clippers will try to replicate this strategy, but according to Doc Rivers, the team probably won’t rest him nearly as frequently as Leonard’s old squad did.
Via Mirjam Swanson of the The Orange County Register:
Rivers said he doesn’t expect the Clippers will employ as “aggressive” a load management plan with Leonard as the Raptors did last season, when he sat out 22 of 82 regular-season games while recovering from a serious quadriceps injury, then led Toronto to the franchise’s first championship. Though Rivers added a caveat, “That’ll be played out by smarter guys than me.”
Ultimately, the Clippers are gunning for a ring, and if that means having Leonard miss a bunch of games so they can accomplish this, he’ll get games off to recharge his batteries. Still, if Leonard can stay healthy, it stands to reason he’ll eclipse 60 games during the regular season this time around.