LA Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard Becomes Free Agent for 2022 NBA Season After Declining $36 Million Player Option
The main man of the Los Angeles Clippers, Kawhi Leonard, was the latest among NBA stars who have ridden the offseason roller-coaster trade rumor ride.
A source confirmed to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday that 'the Klaw' has declined his $36 million player option for next season to become a free agent.
According to ESPN, Wojnarowski said the two-time NBA Finals MVP would negotiate a new deal, extending his future with the Los Angeles Clippers.
While ESPN's Bobby Marks noted that Kawhi Leonard could possibly ink a four-year, $176.2 million deal or has an option of doing a one-and-one and become a free agent in 2022. And by that time, he could sign a five-year deal that could reach up to $235 million.
The decision of Kawhi Leonard to decline his option came in the wake of his July 13 surgery to repair the partially torn right ACL that kept him out on the last eight postseason games of the LA Clippers.
The 30-year-old California native is expected to miss significant regular-season games as he's continuously rehabilitating his injury.
Clippers' Final Push
Last week, LA Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank shared that he hoped for a long-term relationship between the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard.
Frank noted that the organization is now focusing on the health of their star after his major surgery. The Clippers' basketball operations president added that they wanted Kawhi Leonard to have enough time to recover from an ACL injury. He said that they always support him.
Kawhi Leonard mentioned back in December that his possible decision of declining his option does not mean that he would be leaving the Clippers.
Leonard said: "Obviously, if I'm healthy, the best decision is to decline the player option, but that doesn't mean I'm leaving or staying."
In his second season with the LA Clippers, Kawhi Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in just 52 regular-season games. The Klaw missed nine out of 10 games in April because of a foot injury.
Prior to the knee injury of Leonard in the middle of the series against Utah Jazz, the Clippers got a glimpse of their potential with Leonard and his co-star Paul George played their best basketball together on the playoff stage.
The Klaw averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Leonard shot 57.3 percent from the field in his last 11 postseason games.
The Western Conference finals for the LA Clippers last season was their first in franchise history. The franchise hoped to save their biggest free agents like Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson, and Nicolas Batum. Their injured center Serge Ibaka opted into the second year of his deal on Saturday.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by: Jess Smith
WATCH: Kawhi Leonard Declines Player Option, Becomes Free Agent [NBA Free Agency] | - From CBS Sports HQ
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!