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Leonard hoping George and Harden stay in LA

Kawhi Leonard hopes his decision to stay with the Clippers will help keep the franchise’s other star players in Los Angeles.

Leonard last night agreed a three-year contract extension worth a reported $153million, less than the four-year, $223m he was eligible for.

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The 32-year-old is enjoying playing on the same team as Paul George and James Harden – the Clippers have won 21 of their last 27 games, including a 126-120 defeat of the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday – and hopes they also stick around for the next few seasons.

He said: “With the conversations that I have with them about it, I think for the most part everybody is coming back.”

The Clippers have started extension talks with George while Harden, who joined the franchise in October, can sign a new deal after the NBA Finals.

George said: “”I’m extremely excited and happy for Kawhi reaching a deal to hopefully make him a Clipper for the rest of his career.

“We’ll see my situation when we get there, but just happy they got the deal done on his end. I know he wants to stay here, myself as well. When my time comes, we’ll be ready for those conversations as well.”

On Leonard’s deal, Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said: “It just made sense from both sides.

“We both wanted the same thing. We wanted Kawhi to be a Clipper for a very long time, and Kawhi wants to be a Clipper for a very long time, and we wanted to put the focus on the team and at the same time it just came together where it just made sense where it was a very fair deal for both sides.

“Kawhi was a great partner. Because of this new CBA, there’s harsh penalties … for high-spending teams, and Kawhi understood it.”

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