The pending Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes may be short-lived.
The Los Angeles Clippers are widely expected to re-sign the superstar forward if he declines his player option to become a free agent this offseason, report The Athletic's Sam Amick and John Hollinger, citing team sources and rival NBA executives.
Leonard penned a three-year, $103-million deal with Los Angeles as a free agent in 2019 after leading the Toronto Raptors to an NBA title. The 29-year-old has seldom addressed his future but did say in December he believes opting out of the final season of his contract is the wisest move.
"Obviously, if I'm healthy, the best decision is to decline the player option," he said at the time. "But that doesn't mean I'm leaving or staying. I'm focused on the season, like I said. We'll talk about that when the time is right."
By declining his $36-million player option and becoming a free agent, Leonard can attempt to negotiate a far more lucrative maximum contract spanning four seasons.
With Leonard presumably secure, the Clippers' core appears to be in good shape. The team signed star swingman Paul George to a reported four-year, $190-million extension in December, tying the 30-year-old to the club through 2024-25. George, like Leonard, had a player option for next season in his deal, but it was voided by the extension.