Kawhi Leonard could end up re-signing with the Los Angeles Clippers, but the five-time All-Star is reportedly keeping his options open in free agency.
Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Leonard "will listen" to pitches from other teams even though the expectation is he will remain with the Clippers:
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"It looks like [Kawhi] is expected to re-sign with the Clippers, but sources informed me that he will listen to other teams."<a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChrisBHaynes</a> on Kawhi Leonard's free agency <a href="https://t.co/gntyoqShap">pic.twitter.com/gntyoqShap</a>
Haynes reported earlier in the day that Leonard was declining his $36 million option with the Clippers for the 2021-22 season.
Leonard is one of the great unknowns for next season because of the status of his knee.
The Clippers announced that Leonard had surgery on July 13 to repair a partially torn ACL. He missed the final eight playoff games after suffering the injury in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz.
No timetable for Leonard's return was given in the announcement about his surgical procedure.
"Right now our focus, like Kawhi, like his is, is on his health,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said to reporters after the 2021 NBA draft on Thursday. “He had major surgery. He tore his ACL. That’s going to require a great deal of time and we want to support him in that.”
ESPN's Bobby Marks noted a four-year max extension with the Clippers would pay Leonard $176.2 million, but the 30-year-old could also sign a one-plus-one deal and opt out after next season to potentially sign a five-year max worth $235 million.
Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported last month that the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat plan to make a “hard push” to sign Leonard.
Leonard joined the Clippers as a free agent in July 2019. The two-time NBA Finals MVP has averaged 26.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in 109 starts over the previous two seasons.