LOS ANGELES — Kawhi Leonard mentioned he hopes taking lower than what he was eligible for in a contract extension with the LA Clippers will hold Paul George and James Harden with the group as properly.
The Clippers introduced Leonard’s deal Wednesday however didn’t disclose phrases. He signed a three-year, $153 million extension, sources advised ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“With the dialog that I’ve with them about it, I believe for essentially the most half everyone is coming again,” Leonard mentioned after the Clippers beat the Toronto Raptors 126-120 on Wednesday night time. “So with me signing an extension, I believe it provides us an opportunity to signal each of these gamers.”
Leonard and George entered the season eligible for a most extension of 4 years and $223 million, based on ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
Sources advised Wojnarowski that Leonard’s extension can pay the ahead $52 million within the first 12 months and roughly $50 million per season over the following two years. The extension doesn’t embrace a participant possibility, based on Wojnarowski, however does embrace a 15% commerce kicker.
Requested about his pondering in taking a shorter extension than he was eligible for, Leonard mentioned, “I believe at that time I will be 35.”
“You are going to see how I am enjoying at that age,” the 32-year-old Leonard mentioned. “So I suppose that is the quantity.”
The Clippers even have had extension talks with George and wish to have each stars lined up on longer-term contracts, sources advised Wojnarowski.
Leonard had till June 30 to signal an extension with a $48.7 million participant possibility for subsequent season. George, who additionally has a $48.7 million participant possibility, mentioned he’s thrilled for Leonard and needs to stay a Clipper.
“I imply, completely,” George mentioned when requested whether or not Leonard’s extension is a stepping stone to him staying. “You safe and lock in Kawhi. Positively leaves the door open for myself, however very, very optimistic one thing will get achieved on my behalf, as properly.”
Requested how shut he and the Clippers are to being on the identical web page for an extension, George replied, “We’re working by it.”
Harden, 34, is below contract and can’t signal a brand new deal till after the NBA Finals. Each the Clippers and Harden have been very proud of how issues have gone because the group traded for the purpose guard on Oct. 30.
After a six-game dropping streak shortly after the commerce, the Clippers have meshed and gone on a tear. They’ve now received 21 of their previous 27 video games with Leonard within the midst of certainly one of his healthiest and most efficient seasons as a Clipper.
Leonard opened this season enjoying in 27 straight video games, his most consecutive video games in a season since 2016-17. The 2-time Finals MVP is averaging 24 factors and 6 rebounds whereas capturing 51.8% from the sector, together with 43.2% from behind the arc, in 33 video games.
George, 33, is also having fun with a wholesome begin, averaging 23.4 factors and 5.6 rebounds whereas capturing 46.3% from the sector and 41.4% from 3-point vary in 35 video games.
The Leonard extension ensures the Clippers can have their franchise star as they transfer to their new Intuit Dome in Inglewood, California, subsequent season.
“It simply made sense from each side,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank mentioned. “We each needed the identical factor. We needed Kawhi to be a Clipper for a really very long time, and Kawhi needs to be a Clipper for a really very long time, and we needed to place the concentrate on the group and on the similar time it simply got here collectively the place it simply made sense the place it was a particularly reasonable deal for each side.
“Kawhi was an ideal associate. Due to this new CBA, there’s harsh penalties … for high-spending groups, and Kawhi understood it.”
Frank mentioned the group is in fixed communication with George’s illustration. With Leonard, George, Harden and Russell Westbrook all from the Los Angeles space, the Clippers hope that want to stay residence and attempt to win a championship will assist hold the core collectively.
“I am extraordinarily excited and joyful for Kawhi reaching a deal to hopefully make him a Clipper for the remainder of his profession,” George mentioned. “We’ll see my state of affairs once we get there, however simply joyful they received the deal achieved on his finish. I do know he needs to remain right here, myself as properly. When my time comes, we’ll be prepared for these conversations as properly.”