Leonard has a $36.02 million player option with the Clippers for the 2021-22 season. If he declines, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, which would make him the most sought-after NBA player of the offseason. In such a scenario, a Western Conference contender will be in the mix to land the superstar.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Dallas Mavericks are going to do “everything they can” to land Leonard if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. They’ll have some competition, though. The Miami Heat and New York Knicks may also get in the mix.
“The Mavs will try to do everything they can to get Kawhi Leonard,” wrote Stein, via Twitter. “The Knicks and the Heat will try as well. The situation with Kawhi is no longer a safe assumption he’s staying with the Clippers.”
“The Mavs will try to do everything they can to get Kawhi Leonard. The Knicks and the Heat will try as well. The situation with Kawhi is no longer a safe assumption he’s staying with the Clippers.” –@TheSteinLine
— John Ledesma (@JohnnyNBA) July 23, 2021
This all depends on whether or not Kawhi Leonard wants to stay in Los Angeles. His time with the Clippers hasn’t exactly panned out the way analysts anticipated.
The other issue to consider here is Leonard is coming off a postseason-ending injury. Given his age and the uncertainty surrounding his recovery, he may be more inclined to accept his player option rather than hit the free-agent market.