Stephen A.: 'Better Than 50% Chance' Clippers Sign Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2019

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles the ball as Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors defends during the second half of an NBA game at Scotiabank Arena on November 29, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.  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 Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith believes the Los Angeles Clippers could be on the verge of making a massive impact on the free-agent market during the offseason.

Appearing Tuesday on First Take, Smith said that based on what he is hearing, he feels the Clippers have a "better than 50 percent chance" to sign both Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.

Both Durant and Leonard can become free agents during the offseason if they opt out of their contracts with the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors, respectively, as expected.

Leonard is a Riverside, California, native who has long been linked to the Clippers. In January, ESPN.com's Tim Bontemps reported that NBA executives felt Leonard would either re-sign with the Raptors or sign with the Clippers in free agency.

It would be more surprising if Durant joined the Clippers since it has been widely reported that he and the New York Knicks could be a match.

The Athletic's Frank Isola reported this month that some NBA executives are sure Durant and Kyrie Irving will join forces with the Knicks, and their only question is who will sign with the team first.

Also, Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher appeared on FS1's The Herd with Colin Cowherd and called Durant-to-New York a done deal based on what he's heard:

After missing all but nine games last season with the San Antonio Spurs, the 27-year-old Leonard enjoyed a career year in 2018-19 as a member of the Raptors. Leonard averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game en route to leading Toronto to the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed.

Overall, Leonard is a three-time All-Star, two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and one-time NBA Finals MVP.

Durant is in the midst of his third season with the Warriors, and he is looking to win his third consecutive championship and NBA Finals MVP award.

Even though his future was a constant topic throughout the 2018-19 season, Durant put up big numbers once again with averages of 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest.

If the Clippers sign Leonard and a 10-time All-Star in Durant during the same offseason, it would arguably be the biggest coup for a single team in the history of free agency.

Even after parting ways with the likes of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Tobias Harris in recent years, the Clippers made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference this season at 48-34.

L.A. even managed to beat Golden State in Game 2 of their first-round playoff tilt, although the Warriors hold a 3-1 series lead.

If the Clippers add Leonard and Durant to a core that already includes Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, they have a chance to shift the balance of power in the Western Conference.

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