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.”
Sign an extension ✔️
Sign the game ball ✔️
This is a Kawhi Leonard Appreciation Post. pic.twitter.com/Ga4KBfcTWK
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 11, 2024
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.”