Clippers re-sign star Kawhi LeonardFriday, August 13, 2021
LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Kawhi Leonard is sticking with the Los Angeles Clippers, the National Basketball Association (NBA) club announcing yesterday that they had re-signed their star forward.
The Clippers didn't release terms of the deal, but ESPN reported that Leonard inked a four-year, US$176.3-million max deal that includes a player option in the fourth year.
Leonard had declined his player option for US$36 million in the upcoming season to become a free agent.
“Kawhi is a transcendent player and a relentless worker who improves himself every day,” Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement.
“We share many of the same goals, which include a long-term relationship. This agreement marks another important moment for our franchise and our fans as we strive to create a championship-calibre organisation, where players find the success and fulfillment they seek. We're eager to continue building with Kawhi.”
Last season was Leonard's second with the Clippers. He played in 52 games, averaging 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and a career-high 5.2 assists while shooting 51.2 per cent from the field and 88.5 per cent from the free-throw line.
But Leonard missed the final eight games of the Clippers' play-off campaign after injuring his right knee against the Utah Jazz.
He had surgery to repair torn ligaments in July and will likely be sidelined when the 2021-22 season begins.
“For now, we will do whatever we can to support him in his recovery from injury,” Frank said. “We look forward to seeing him back where he wants to be – on the court with his teammates.”