Kawhi Leonard Rumors: Clippers to Craft Narrative to Fit Kawhi's Personal Story

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 10, 2018

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors looks on during play against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on November 7, 2018 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers are already planning a potential free-agent pitch to Kawhi Leonard for next summer.

Per The Athletic's Blake Murphy, there is a sense from people around the NBA that the Clippers are crafting a narrative in line with Leonard's personal story.

Murphy didn't go into specifics, though he did list reasons why the Clippers seem to be picking up steam as a free-agent destination:

"They've managed to pivot away from their former core without going through a nasty rebuild that would threaten to regress some of the reputational rehabilitation they performed in the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan era. They've maintained a clean cap sheet, added young talent and are winning games while toeing the line in a holding pattern between two possible paths after next summer."

Leonard was born and grew up in the Los Angeles area. He became a basketball prodigy in California, winning the state's Mr. Basketball award in 2009 before playing two years at San Diego State University.

The Clippers have been a fixture in rumors over Leonard's future. They were among the teams that made an offer to the San Antonio Spurs for the two-time All-Star before he was eventually traded to the Toronto Raptors.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in September the Clippers, who will have two max-salary slots available next summer, were "emerging as a front-runner" for Leonard.

Leonard's current deal includes a $21.3 million player option for next season. He's off to an MVP-caliber start in 2018-19 with the Raptors, averaging 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists in eight games.

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