The Los Angeles Clippers picked up their first win of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday, knocking off the Phoenix Suns at the Staples Center in Game 3. Once again, Kawhi Leonard was out, and this time, he wasn’t sitting with his team either.
Leonard was notably up in a suite, watching the game with his family. While he has been out since mid-way through the team’s last series with the Utah Jazz, he had generally been taking things in from the bench. This change was notable, and according to FS1’s Skip Bayless, Leonard has taken issue with how the Clippers have handled his knee injury.
“I have been told by a very good source that the first issue became Kawhi was unhappy with the Clippers medical staff because he felt they early on misdiagnosed and underplayed the extent of this knee injury. What does that smack of? San Antonio all over again,” Bayless said on today’s edition of Undisputed.
“Kawhi Leonard is his own man, we know this. Once he gets a little sideways with medical staff, he’s going to pull away. He’s going to go to this doctor and that physical therapist, away from the team. Why is it that the team keeps saying ‘We’re not sure’ from game-to-game? They won’t rule him out. I think they’re just not communicating at all with him so they’re not sure what’s going on with him.
The Los Angeles Clippers and head coach Ty Lue have made things with Kawhi Leonard seem day-to-day. Bayless, citing his sources, says that isn’t the case: Kawhi is done for the playoffs.
“He’s gone. He’s going to need some type of surgery. I’m not sure what the extent of it is, but he’s out for the rest of the playoffs. But they don’t ever say he’s out because I think they’re not talking.”
He went on to float the idea that Kawhi has played his last game with the Los Angeles Clippers. He has a player option for the 2021-22 season, which he has to decide upon by August 1. He’ll make $36 million with the franchise next year if he decides to stay, but if not, a league-shaking free agent could hit the market.