Kawhi's Contract

So it turns out that Kawhi Leonard isn’t signing with the Clippers….for as long as everyone thought he would.

Jim Rome
July 11, 2019 - 10:49 am
Kawhi Leonard

USA Today


So it turns out that Kawhi Leonard isn’t signing with the Clippers….for as long as everyone thought he would. See, for a moment there, Clipper Nation, you thought the rug was being pulled out from you again. But now you can take a breath and laugh again.

You thought that you’d finally woken up from that dream you had last Friday night into Saturday when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both decided to become Clippers.

But you’re awake. This is real. This is happening. It’s just that instead of signing with the Clippers for four years, he’s signing a three-year deal that includes a player option for the third year. So he’s effectively signing for two years, which matches up with the balance of Paul George’s deal. So they can both be free agents in 2021.

Which means we can all re-live this again in two years. And I say, awesome. That is great. Seriously. That’s not sarcasm.

It’s great because he’s making a choice. He could take the guaranteed money that would come with a longer deal, or the freedom and flexibility that comes with a shorter deal.  And bet on himself. 

And two, it’s great because two years from now, we can have another summer just like this one. Where guys are just swapping teams

Oh, and don’t think that winning a title or two in the next two years definitely means that Kawhi is staying. He just left a team where he won a title, so nothing is guaranteed.  Especially from a guy like this, that no one really knows. 

And don’t think that Kawhi is the only X-factor in this whole thing. While nobody knew what Kawhi was doing this summer, the exact same number of people, nobody, knew what Paul George was going to do this summer.

So don’t think that you can predict what Paul George is going to do in 2021 either. Because all along, he wanted to come to the Lakers. Then he was traded to OKC and the expectation was he’d sign with the Lakers as a free agent.

Then he re-signed with OKC. And one year later, he requested a trade to the Clippers.

And speaking of that trade, how about the quote from Thunder Executive VP and GM Sam Presti that was included in the team’s announcement of the trade yesterday. It was very respectful and gracious, but listen to this line and tell me if you spot something:

“From the time that Paul and his representation made us aware of what had been transpiring and their subsequent request, our focus as an organization was identifying the best paths for our future.”

Very gracious, very polite, but there’s definitely a point there. The point being “made us aware of what had been transpiring” cough-cough – the tampering and influencing from Kawhi Leonard.

Presti is too classy and thoughtful to vent in a statement, but you know he’s pissed. And the team is reminding their fans and entire league that this trade is not the result of something they wanted to do, but something that was done to them. And something they are not happy about. At all. 

The Thunder aren’t coming right out and saying it, but you know they typed that up with gritted teeth. And probably really wanted to say something along the lines of: Paul George re-signed with us last summer. Things appeared to be going well. Then along came a guy who started talking to him and convinced him to demand a trade. That’s tampering, that’s dirty pool, and we don’t like it.

And by the way, I understand where they’d be coming from if they said that. I understand why they’d be pissed that it appears that Kawhi convinced him to make that trade request. Just know that there is absolutely no way to stop

The only way to do that is take their phones away. And that’s not happening. You can’t stop guys from talking to each other. They aren’t middle schoolers trying to use a land line back in the day.

That’s it, Paul! I told you no talking to Kawhi. I don’t like him as a friend for you. He’s getting in between you and your friend Russell!

No phone and no Xbox for a week. Oh, and after that trade request, no going to the mall and no fishing for a week either. Now you go up to your room and think about your actions, young man!

You’re not grounding your players. Esp. Star players. They have power. And they’re going to use it. Just like how Kawhi used it last summer to get out of San Antonio and then used it this summer to bring Paul George with him to Los Angeles.

And now, thanks to his contract, he can use it again in two years, and we can re-live it all over again. And I love it.  It’s a star player’s league and the few cats that are true stars are running it. Kawhi proved that. And might just prove it again in a couple of years.