The Kawhi Leonard era in Los Angeles hasn’t exactly panned out the way the Clippers expected. Once considered an NBA title favorite, Leonard’s squad now looks primed for its second straight early exit from the postseason.
The Clips are currently down 2-0 to the Utah Jazz, putting their title hopes — and Kawhi’s future with the team — in jeopardy.
“If Donavon Mitchell takes your Clippers out, guess what? Let Kawhi go. Let him walk. Let him exercise his option and go elsewhere,” Smith said. “With LeBron James home … this is arguably the Clippers best chance to win the chip.”
If the Clippers lose to the Jazz, @stephenasmith thinks they need to let Kawhi walk 😳
"With LeBron James home … this is arguably the Clippers best chance to win the chip." pic.twitter.com/uBRN1AXeht
— First Take (@FirstTake) June 11, 2021
After heading to LA alongside Paul George in 2019, the Clippers were immediately dubbed the favorites to win it all. But, in their first postseason as a star duo, Leonard and George were unable to get it done — blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets.
As of right now, its looking like more of the same in this year’s postseason. Averaging 41.0 points over the first two games of the series, Donovan Mitchell has absolutely dominated the Clippers en route to a 2-0 lead.
Kawhi’s current three-year deal has him locked in through this season with a player-option out in 2021-22. While the two-time NBA champion has made no indication that he wants to leave LA, the franchise may be ready to overhaul the roster if they suffer yet another second-round exit this year.
Should the Clippers hang on to Kawhi or let him walk?