Kawhi Leonard is staying in Los Angeles after the Clippers re-signed their free-agent superstar on Thursday.
Leonard averaged 26 points, 6.8 rebounds and five assists in his first two seasons with his hometown team.
He suffered a partially torn right ACL during the playoffs and missed the Clippers’ first Western Conference finals appearance. Leonard had surgery on his knee a month ago. His status for the upcoming season is unknown, and it’s possible he could miss a good portion of it while rehabbing.
Leonard declined his $36 million option last week, setting up his ability to sign a maximum contract worth 35% of the team’s salary cap and allowing him to earn upwards of $3 million more for the 2021-22 season.
The five-time All-Star averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and a career-high 5.2 assists last season, while shooting 51% from the field and 88% from the line.
“Kawhi is a transcendent player and a relentless worker who improves himself every day,” said Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations. “We share many of the same goals, which include a long-term relationship.”
Frank said the Clippers will “do whatever we can” to support Leonard in his injury rehab.
“We look forward to seeing him back where he wants to be, on the court with his teammates,” Frank said.
Leonard was named to his seventh All-Defensive team last season and his third All-NBA first team.
BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer