Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Report: Kawhi Leonard declining player option with Clippers

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 14: Head Coach Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Clippers hi-fives Kawhi Leonard #2 during Round 2, Game 4 of 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 14, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Kawhi Leonard said before the season he’d decline his $36,016,200 player option.

Even after tearing his ACL, he’s doing it.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Leonard is widely expected to re-sign with the Clippers, though the Mavericks, Heat and Knicks were the teams most interested in the superstar forward.

By opting out, Leonard can increase his salary next season to a projected $39,344,970. That could start a four-year contract worth $176 million with the Clippers.

Leonard could have opted in then signed a four-year extension worth $182 million (which would have brought his contract – including the option year – to $218 million over five years).

So, Leonard clearly isn’t prioritizing maximizing his guaranteed compensation right now. He can earn more over the long run by risking re-entry to free agency.

Which leads to another possibility for this summer.

Leonard could sign a 1+1 contract starting at that $39,344,970. Then, in 2022 free agency, he could sign a five-year max projected to be worth $235 million (rather than just the four-year max he can get this summer).