Veteran small forward Kawhi Leonard has signed a four-year, $176.3 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency, according to multiple media reports. Leonard declined his player option of $36 million to become a free agent prior to the August 1 deadline.
Leonard sat out at the end of the Los Angeles Clippers’ playoff run due to an ACL sprain. He had surgery to repair the injury after the season and is sidelined indefinitely moving forward. He was averaging 30.4 points per game in the postseason prior to the injury.
Even with his setback, Leonard is one of the biggest stars in the league. The “load management” tactics might irritate some people, but the talent is undeniable. The two-way force chose Los Angeles and the Clippers two seasons ago but his tenure has not gone the way the franchise has expected so far. Leonard signed a three-year, $103 million deal with the last year being a player option when he joined LA. His running mate Paul George already signed a big extension after being acquired in a trade that same offseason.
Leonard averaged 24.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 51.2 percent from the floor, although he only played 52 of 72 possible games. In the last three seasons, Leonard is averaging 26.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on 49.1 percent shooting. He has played less games in each successive season, leading to some concern about his long-term health.