Kawhi Leonard selected longer deal attributable to knee harm

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FILE–Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers. Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Photos/AFP 

Los Angeles Clippers ahead Kawhi Leonard mentioned Monday his severe knee harm was a giant consider why he signed a long-term take care of the membership as a substitute of a shorter possibility.

Leonard partially tore the ACL in his proper knee June 14 through the Western Convention semifinals in opposition to the Utah Jazz. He missed the rest of the postseason and underwent surgical procedure July 13.

Just a few weeks after the process, Leonard declined his $36 million possibility for the 2021-22 season and have become a free agent. However as a result of uncertainty of when he would have the ability to play once more, Leonard opted to sign a four-year, $176.3 million with the Clippers versus a one-year take care of a one-year possibility.

Leonard will make $39.3 million this season even when he doesn’t play a single minute.

Although there isn’t a timetable for his return, Leonard mentioned the potential of taking part in this season factored within the decision-making course of.

“As a result of I needed to play,” Leonard mentioned on the crew’s media day. “I imply, one of the best scenario for me was to do it one-and-one after which choose out and signal a long-term five-year deal. However there’s a number of considerations that that brings up for you guys and your job, and it creates storylines that I’m going to go away the crew (after one yr).

“I needed to safe some cash, and I needed to have the ability to come again if I used to be capable of this yr. If I’d have took the one-and-one, I most likely would haven’t performed (this season) simply to be cautious and opted out and took a five-year.”

Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank mentioned Friday that “nobody is aware of” the timetable for Leonard’s return.

The 30-year-old Leonard didn’t shed any gentle on that both.

“Simply day-to-day,” Leonard mentioned. “Simply working with the employees day-to-day, after which when that obtainable date comes, we’ll be prepared for it, and it’ll be out within the public.”

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue is extra considering Leonard being again in prime kind when he returns.

“We don’t wish to power him or put any strain on him,” Lue mentioned Monday. “We wish to make sure that he’s rehabbing, doing all the pieces he can to get again as quickly as doable, and if that’s subsequent season, that’s subsequent season.

“We don’t wish to power him to return again too early. We wish to make sure that he’s 100% when he does come again.”

Leonard is coming into his third season with the Clippers. He averaged 27.1 factors in 57 video games his first season and 24.8 factors in 52 video games final season.

General, Leonard is averaging 19.2 factors, 6.4 rebounds and a couple of.9 assists in 10 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs (2011-18), Toronto Raptors (2018-19) and Clippers.

Leonard is a two-time NBA Finals MVP — profitable the award with the Spurs in 2014 and Raptors in 2019.

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