After opting out of his third year with the Los Angeles Clippers, All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard only wasted a little time before returning to the team. And he made sure to get paid a LOT more this time.
NBA insider Shams Charania revealed on Thursday that Kawhi has signed a four-year, $176 million deal to return to the Clippers. The deal dwarfs the three-year, $103 million deal he signed with LA in 2018.
Kawhi Leonard never gave much of an indication that he wanted to play anywhere except the Clippers. So despite a lot of hand-wringing over where he might go after opting out of his prior three-year contract, there wasn’t much surprise when he returned.
But fans are a little bit more shocked by how much money Kawhi is making this time. A good portion of fans – mostly Lakers fans – are laughing at the Clippers for signing him to such a huge deal given his lack of accomplishments with the team to date:
Why? Paying $44M to do nothing but rehab then pay $1M a game because he is averaging 44 games a year over the last 4 years. After all that, they wont have any titles to show for it. Poor Clipper fans.
— BS EXPRESS (@BSandfullofit) August 12, 2021
Another 4 years just to not make the nba finals
— Somewhat Happy Lakers Fan (@OprahSideClark) August 12, 2021
Which he will play 2 seasons, sit out and deliver the clippers 0 rings but yet clippers fans will bring up how they beat the Lakers on Christmas day even though the Lakers win another championship
— V-Money DeeJay (@VMoneyDeeJay) August 12, 2021
shoulda came to the lakers when he had the chance
— ²³𝙻𝚎𝙱𝚛𝚘𝚗𝚌𝚑𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚜🏀☄️🌎💞 (@BronGotGame) August 12, 2021
There’s no denying that Kawhi Leonard has so far failed to make the city of Los Angeles belong to the Clippers. While he’s played great in the regular season, the Clippers have fallen short in the playoffs twice in a row.
Granted, Kawhi did help lead LA to their first-ever trip to the NBA Conference Finals. But injuries kept him from delivering a chip, and there’s a good chance he misses time this coming season because of those injuries.
The good news Kawhi is he now has a four-year commitment from the Clippers that will allow him to achieve his goal.
Maybe the 2021-22 season will be the year he finally gets the Clippers over the hump.