Pacific Notes: Kawhi, Brown, Suns Payroll

The Clippers are reportedly in “no rush” to enter into a new extension for oft-injured star forward Kawhi Leonard, reports Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN in a new edition of Zach Lowe’s podcast The Lowe Post.

“I hear it’s kind of quiet right now,” Youngmisuk said (hat tip to Joey Linn of Sports Illustrated for the transcription). “There is no rush on an extension for Kawhi Leonard, and then Paul George will be eligible in September.”

The 32-year-old Leonard, a five-time All-Star, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and two-time Finals MVP, remains an impactful player when healthy. After missing the entire 2021/22 season with an ACL tear, the 6’7″ swingman averaged 23.8 PPG on .512/.416/.871 shooting splits, along with 6.5 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.4 SPG and 0.5 BPG last year, albeit in just 52 games. He tore his meniscus during L.A.’s first-round matchup against the Suns this spring, and has not played a full postseason without a major injury since 2020.

As Youngmisuk notes, Leonard’s fellow injury-prone, maximum-salaried wing George will also be eligible for a lucrative new extension this offseason.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers rookie Kobe Brown considers his four years of college seasoning a positive asset as he preps for his pro hoops debut, writes Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points. The 6’7″ wing was selected with the No. 30 pick out of Missouri in June. “Just because of the experience, the maturity on and off-the-court,” Brown told Azarly of how his extended NCAA run will help him at the next level. “I hear some guys you gotta kind of worry about off-the-court and if they’ll catch onto stuff faster, but me being older, I’ve kind of already lived a lot, not a whole lot, but a little bit more than some of the younger guys in the league so I understand a lot of off-the-court stuff a lot better.”
  • The Suns’ $188.5MM payroll ranks third in the NBA this season. Jeremy Cluff of The Arizona Republic unpacks the team’s contract situation for 2023/24. That number will shoot up to $204MM+ in 2024/25 among just 11 players who will be signed on that season, assuming some player and team options are picked up.
  • In case you missed it, former Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers is expected to receive a variety of inquiries about his services, should openings arise in rival front offices. Myers has publicly stated he wanted to take a break from the NBA at large upon departing, so it will be interesting to see how clubs try to entice him to return.
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