The Los Angeles Clippers have signed two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to a contract extension, the team said Wednesday.
2019 Finals MVP with Toronto in midst of healthiest season since move to Los Angeles
Joe Reedy · The Associated Press
· Posted: Jan 10, 2024 2:13 PM EST | Last Updated: January 10
Kawhi Leonard, seen above in April 2023, signed a contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)Lawrence Frank said there was never doubt in his mind that the Los Angeles Clippers were going to agree to a contract extension with Kawhi Leonard.
With it seemingly being inevitable, there was no better time to make it official than Wednesday.
The three-year contract extension with the two-time NBA Finals MVP is worth $153 million US, according to ESPN.
Coincidentally, the deal’s announcement came with the Clippers facing the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. Leonard led the Raptors to the NBA title in 2019 and won his second finals MVP award before signing with the Clippers that offseason.
Leonard was in the third year of a four-year deal he signed in 2021 that calls for him to earn a base salary of $45,640,084 this season. He had a player option for next season at $48,787,676.
“It just made sense from both sides. We both wanted the same thing,” said Frank, the Clippers president. “We wanted Kawhi to be a Clipper for a long time and Kawhi wants to be a Clipper for a long time.”
Good Morning, #ClipperNation 🖐️
We’ve signed Kawhi Leonard to a contract extension. pic.twitter.com/aBDJpHwEn0
—@LAClippersLeonard is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists this season. The 32-year-old forward has been in good health in his 12th NBA season, playing in 32 of 36 games so far. He recently returned after missing four games with a hip injury.
“When you can get a top-tier player to sign back, it says a lot about your organization and all the work put in to to get to this position. It is a great day for the organization,” coach Tyronn Lue said.
Leonard is a five-time all-star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year. He also won an NBA title and was the NBA Finals MVP with San Antonio in 2014.
George, who arrived with Leonard in 2019, and Harden are also eligible for extensions. Frank said talks with George are still ongoing, but discussions with Harden can not begin until after the NBA Finals.
Lue said the addition of Harden has meant Leonard and George have run fewer pick-and-roll plays, which has helped decrease the amount of wear and tear on their bodies.
“I think James also has made it easier for Kawhi and Paul to have more catch-and-shoot 3-pointers and to play off closeouts. That’s been really good for us,” Lue said.