The Clippers, in their first season with Kawhi Leonard, suffered a historic playoff collapse amid chemistry problems last year. Leonard expressed dissatisfaction with the Clippers this season. He plans to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Would he actually leave L.A.?
Leonard is still widely, well, expected to re-sign with the Clippers. As it stands, that’s the word from Clippers sources and rival executives alike.
This seems like a reasonable expectation.
After all, Leonard left the defending-champion Raptors to join the Clippers. He clearly values being in his native Southern California.
The Clippers also have a strong roster (especially considering Paul George was his handpicked co-star) and committed owner in Steve Ballmer. Leonard would maximize his salary by opting out and re-signing.
But his contract situation does give him an exit ramp. His first season with the Clippers didn’t go as hoped. If they flame out in the playoffs again… I still predict he’d re-sign. Every indication is Leonard will stay put.
Still, free agency is several months away. Circumstances could change.
It’s just difficult to envision anything happening that’d cause Leonard to leave.