The Los Angeles Clippers have been one of the quietest NBA teams this offseason and reportedly plan to remain that way with no plans to give Kawhi Leonard a contract extension in the near future.
“I hear it’s kind of quiet right now,” ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk said of the Clippers’ contract talks. “There is no rush on an extension for Kawhi Leonard, and then Paul George will be eligible in September.”
Leonard is eligible for a maximum extension which could be worth up to $220 million over four years, but the Clippers may be hesitant to give the 32-year-old that kind of deal considering he played only 52 games last season after missing all of the 2021-22 campaign.
Since leaving the Toronto Raptors after winning the 2019 NBA championship to sign with the Clippers as a free agent, Leonard has missed 147 of a possible 308 regular season games because of injuries or load management.
Leonard looked ready to go in the playoffs last season, scoring 38 points in Game 1 and 31 points in Game 2 of his team’s first-round series against the Phoenix Suns, but he injured his knee and was unable to play again in the Clippers’ eventual five-game loss.
George did not play at all in the series against the Suns this April due to an injury that also sidelined him for the final month of the regular season. He will be eligible to sign the same extension as Leonard later this offseason.
“Once Leonard and George become eligible for extensions, each will have until June 30 of next year to sign a four-year extension, contingent on declining their player option for the 2024-25 season,” wrote Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “Or, either player will have until Oct. 23 to sign a three-year extension that would build off their 2024-25 options, according to a person with knowledge of extension timetables.”
The only notable new addition the Clippers have made this offseason is getting Kenyon Martin Jr. from the Houston Rockets as part of a five-team trade. Los Angeles also re-signed Russell Westbrook and Mason Plumlee.
Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue recently said he wants Leonard and George to be serious about the regular season. That then raises the interesting question of whether the players will be motivated to perform to secure new lucrative contracts.
Perhaps giving them new deals prior to the season is the push they need to get on the court more often.