Kawhi Leonard Rumors: Clippers 'Quietly Looked' into Buying 'Klaw' Logo Rights

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 29, 2019

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard lines up a free throw during warm ups before an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers apparently tried to take a unique approach to potentially pursue Kawhi Leonard ahead of free agency this summer. 

Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, Leonard's "Klaw" logo was the subject of the Clippers' attention as they looked to build a possible pitch to the former NBA Finals MVP:

"The Los Angeles Clippers are said to have quietly looked into the feasibility of purchasing the portion of the rights to Leonard's 'Klaw' logo that is still owned by Nike. The Clippers did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday, but such an acquisition would theoretically enable them to bestow full control of the logo upon Leonard as part of their anticipated free-agency pitch meeting with the Toronto superstar."

Stein did note a move of this type would most likely be considered a violation of the NBA salary cap. 

A top official at Nike told Stein the company is "intent on rebuffing all approaches and retaining its rights to that logo for as long as it can—to assure that it would not appear on gear made by Leonard's new contract partners at New Balance."

The logo was introduced by the Jordan Brand in April 2016:

Jordan @Jumpman23

🖐 The @KawhiLeonard collection. Coming soon. https://t.co/zDR9aKydRj

Leonard left Nike last year to sign a multiyear deal with New Balance in November 2018. The company debuted his signature shoe during All-Star Weekend in February. 

The Clippers have frequently been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Leonard, assuming he opts out of his contract this summer. 

Appearing on ESPN Los Angeles two weeks ago (h/t ClutchPoints' Tomer Azarly), Ramona Shelburne said she still thinks Leonard will sign with the Clippers "because he seems to be a guy who wants his own team."

Before thinking about free agency, Leonard has to contend with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals if he wants to lead the Toronto Raptors to their first championship.