Kawhi Leonard Rumors: NBA Exec Thinks There's Less Than 1% Chance Star Leaves LA

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard advances the ball up court during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Kawhi Leonard reportedly isn't expected to leave the Los Angeles Clippers despite having the option to become a free agent during the offseason.

According to Tom Haberstroh of TrueHoop.com, a non-Clippers NBA executive believes there is a "less than 1 percent" chance of Leonard leaving the Clippers during the offseason.

Kawhi has a player option for the 2021-22 season that carries a salary of over $36 million, per Spotrac.

While the Clippers haven't enjoyed the elite level of success Leonard undoubtedly hoped for when he signed with them, Haberstroh noted that he receives some perks that could help in convincing him to stay.

Most notably, the Clippers allow Kawhi to commute from his home in San Diego, even if it means he is late for team activities at times.

Given the comfortable situation Leonard finds himself in, Haberstroh reported that "most people" he has spoken to within the NBA don't think Kawhi is going anywhere.

The 29-year-old Leonard signed a three-year contract with the Clips in free agency in 2019 after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever championship at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. That marked Kawhi's second championship and NBA Finals MVP award, as he previously accomplished the feat with the San Antonio Spurs.

In his first season with the Clippers, Leonard appeared in 57 regular-season games and averaged a career-high 27.1 points per game to go along with 7.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals.

The Clippers had the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 49-23, but they blew a 3-1 series lead and were upset by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs.

So far this season, the Clippers are third in the West at 30-16. In 37 games, Kawhi is averaging 25.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals.

The Clippers have a chance to go the distance and win a championship this season, but they will have to traverse a remarkably deep and talented Western Conference to do so.

The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns are both up-and-coming teams ahead of the Clippers in the standings, while the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are fourth despite missing Anthony Davis for a long stretch and having LeBron James on the shelf currently as well.

It can be argued that by leaving the Raptors and the Eastern Conference, Leonard made his road to a championship much tougher, which is something he must consider.

If his primary concern is comfort and being close to home, however, no team can offer him a better situation than the Clippers have.