Kawhi Leonard’s highly-anticipated free agency decision came over the weekend when it was announced that the reigning NBA Finals MVP will head to the Los Angeles Clippers. It was reported that Leonard would head there on a four-year max contract, but according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, that won’t be the case.
Charania brings word that Leonard will instead sign a three-year max contract, one that includes a player option for the final year.
While Leonard does leave a little more money on the table — the four-year max would have given him $142 million — this is a savvy move that could pay off in a big way down the road. Should they decide to not pick up their player options following the 2020-21 campaign, Leonard and new Clippers running mate Paul George would hit free agency at the same time. Plus there is major financial incentive in the NBA to hit free agency following ten years of service in the league, as laid out by Lucas Hann of Clips Nation.
If Leonard’s last year or two have showed us anything, it’s that we should not assume we know exactly what he’ll end up doing once the 2021 offseason rolls around. Still, barring something unforeseen, while anything is possible, he’s positioned himself to cash in with the Clippers in a big, big way two summers from now.