Kawhi Leonard, Paul George Will Play for Clippers 'For a Long Time,' Ty Lue Says

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIIOctober 22, 2020

Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard, left, and Paul George talk on the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in San Antonio. Los Angeles won 134-109. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Darren Abate/Associated Press

Ty Lue believes Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will remain with the Los Angeles Clippers for the foreseeable future despite each of their contracts expiring after the 2020-21 season. 

Speaking with ESPN's Rachel Nichols, the team's new head coach expressed confidence in the duo staying put as long as the Clippers continue to contend.  

Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols

A fireside chat with new Clippers Coach Ty Lue - on his couple weeks as the NBA's most wanted man, his plans to address team chemistry, how long he thinks Kawhi & PG are sticking around, and whether he regrets not taking the Lakers job. Also: he & I fight over Chauncey Billups 😂 https://t.co/1KxL7OH8Mk

"I think Kawhi and PG are here to stay for a long time," Lue said (starting at 3:15 mark). "I think in their situation and where they want to be is here with the Clippers. We've just got to make it a great environment, and we have to win."

Lue replaced Doc Rivers, who was fired after failing to advance past the second round of the playoffs in the first year of the Leonard/George era in L.A. 

The sense of urgency likely felt in Rivers' firing is understandable.

Ahead of the 2019-20 season, the only thing guaranteed was at least two years of Leonard and George. The club figured the opportunity to bust open a championship window—however small—and deal with the fallout later was worth the risk of acquiring the duo. 

The team signed Leonard to a three-year, $103.1 million contract, which includes an opt-out clause after the 2021 season. It then traded Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round picks and the rights to swap two other first-rounders for George, whose contract expires in 2022 but also includes a 2021 player option. 

L.A. finished 49-23 and grabbed the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. It defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, only to blow a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. 

Making matters worse, the Clippers' biggest rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, earned their 17th NBA title. 

As much as the Lue believes his top two players will be around long term, it's part of his job to make sure they have a reason to stay put. 


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