The evening before the 2021 NBA free agency period was set to begin some major news broke. Kawhi Leonard announced that he would be declining his $36 million dollars player option with the Los Angeles Clippers. He is now set to join the 2021 free agent group and his motives in doing this are currently unclear. It will soon become clear if rumors about his frustration with the Clippers were true or just noise.
Kawhi Leonard has declined his $36M player option for next season and becomes a free agent, per source. Now, the expectation is that Leonard will negotiate a new deal to stay with Clippers. @ChrisBHaynes first on declining option.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 1, 2021
The expectation seems to be that he will return to the Clippers in some type of new deal. Should he return to the Clippers he could sign a max deal with the team or a two-year deal with the second year being another player option. Kawhi Leonard has made it clear he joined the Clippers along with Paul George to win an NBA Championship. A short deal could mean his frustration is growing or he is continuing to leverage his options. The max deal would clearly prove he is willing to give the team some time to build a championship roster.
There have been rumors this offseason about the star forward’s growing frustration with his situation in Los Angeles. The 2022 free agency period could be a more ideal time to jump ship should there be any truth to that. An answer to the type of deal he will sign with the Clippers should come early in the free agency period. As long as nothing changes his mind late expect an early announcement between Leonard and the Clippers.