Kawhi Leonard has signed a five-year, $219 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Leonard said he wanted to return to the court this season and that his desire to do so factored into his decision to sign a max deal.
Kawhi Leonard says his desire to return this season factored into decision to sign max deal.
PLAYA VISTA (California) — Kawhi Leonard said that he accepted a four-year max contract with the Los Angeles Clippers rather than a shorter agreement that might lead to a more lucrative contract because he wants to return and play this season.
Leonard refused to offer a timeline for his return following surgery on July 13 to repair a partly torn right ACL that forced him to miss the Clippers’ last eight playoff games. He is anticipated to be out for a long period. However, the team’s star said that the possibility of returning this season influenced his decision to accept a four-year, $176.3 million deal in August.
At the team’s media day on Monday, Leonard justified his decision: “Because I wanted to play.” “I mean, the ideal scenario for me was to complete it one-and-done and then opt out and get a five-year contract.” However, this raises a lot of worries for you and your work, and it generates stories that I’m going to quit the club [after one year].
“I needed to save some money and ensure that I would be able to return next year if I was able. If I had taken the one-and-one, I probably would not have played [this season] just to be safe and would have opted out and taken a five-year contract instead.”
The Clippers haven’t given any indication of when Leonard will be ready to play again. When asked whether Leonard would be able to play this season, Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations, stated last week, “we don’t even broach that.”
“It’s simply that no one knows how long it takes to heal from an ACL [injury],” Frank said.
On Monday, Leonard stated that doing the therapy day by day is “extremely difficult,” particularly since he’s wounded “but not really feeling like I was hurt.” Leonard was fouled on a drive during Game 4 of the second round of the playoffs against Utah and sustained the injury. Leonard originally believed he was OK, but the club decided to keep him out of the game’s closing minutes. When he learned out he was out, he went with the team to Utah before returning to Los Angeles before to Game 5. The injury was originally diagnosed as a sprained right knee by the team.
When asked whether he believes Leonard would return for the playoffs, Clippers head coach Ty Lue replied, “I hope he comes back October 21st [for the opening].” “But the truth is that he won’t be ready then. We don’t want to put any pressure on him or compel him to do anything. We want to make sure he’s rehabilitating properly and doing all he can to return as soon as possible; if that means next season, then be it.”
“We don’t want to compel him to return too soon. When he does co-work, we want to make sure he’s at his best “”I’m back.”
Leonard’s injuries had a role in his choice to sign a free-agent contract this summer. If he had opted into the $36 million he was scheduled to earn in the 2021-22 season, he could have signed a four-year, $187 million contract. However, he chose free agency over that alternative.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Leonard could have signed a two-year, $82 million deal with a player option in 2022-23 and then become a free agent again in 2022, making him eligible to accept a five-year, $235 million max contract with the Clippers. Leonard, on the other hand, wants to play this season, so he signed a five-year contract.
Leonard’s decision to remain with the Clippers was never in question. The issue now is when he will be able to play again.
“It’s just day to day,” Leonard said. “Just working with the employees on a daily basis, and when that available day comes around, we’ll be ready, and it’ll be out in the open.”
Kawhi Leonard has signed a five-year, $94.3 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he says it was his desire to return this season that factored into his decision. Reference: kawhi leonard wife.
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