The Los Angeles Clippers have officially announced the signing of free agent forward Kawhi Leonard and the contract details are somewhat surprising. The contract is for less years than originally reported.
Leonard was expected to sign a four year, $141 million contract with the Clippers after deciding to sign with them in free agency. Instead, the NBA Finals MVP is signing a two-year deal with a player option for a third year. The contract is worth $103 million over three years.
This is surprising, as Leonard was expected all along to sign a four-year deal. The two-year deal actually makes a lot of financial sense, though.
By signing this two-plus-one deal, Leonard can opt-out ahead of the 2021 summer and hit free agency in two years. Leonard will then be eligible to sign the biggest max contract possible.
Leonard will have hit 10 years in the league by the 2021 summer, allowing him to sign a four-year contract worth 35 percent of the salary cap.
The four-year contract he can sign in 2021 will be worth an estimated $196 million.
Sets Kawhi up to get the coveted 10+ year max in 2021, worth 35% of the cap or an estimated 4-yr/$196M deal.
Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler both passed up that chance, instead signing for 4 years.
If Kawhi stayed with TOR on 2+1, he could have gotten 5-yr/$250M. https://t.co/IDUmDj8mIr
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) July 10, 2019
Leonard, if he doesn’t opt into the final year of his contract, will join an absolutely loaded 2021 free agency class.
Giannis, Leonard, Paul George, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo and, potentially, LeBron James (player option) can all hit free agency that summer.
If you thought this free agency summer was wild….just wait.