The summer of 2021 was originally thought of as being an opportunity for teams to make a run at a superstar like Giannis Antetokounmpo. Instead, he decided to sign a supermax contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks and has since won the NBA Finals.
Now, LA Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard is widely thought of as the top free agent in this year’s free agency class. He will be sidelined for much of the 2021-22 NBA season as he recovers from surgery to repair a partially torn ACL, but regardless, teams will prioritize the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
According to Marc Stein on a Spotify Green Room, it is ‘no longer a safe assumption’ that Leonard will return to the Clippers. The Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Miami Heat will be aggressive in their pursuit of his services in free agency.
“The Mavs will try to do everything they can to get Kawhi Leonard. The Knicks and the Heat will try as well. The situation with Kawhi is no longer a safe assumption he’s staying with the Clippers.”
Leonard’s playoff run ended abruptly after being ruled out for the final games of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Clippers managed to defeat the Utah Jazz despite him being sidelined, but ultimately came up short in the Western Conference Finals at the hands of the Phoenix Suns.
The Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat can each make an intriguing case to land Kawhi Leonard. However, would he actually be willing to leave Southern California to sign elsewhere? That remains to be seen. The fact still remains, he still has Paul George as a co-star and a variety of helpful players in the supporting cast to win if he stays with the Los Angeles Clippers.
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