Clippers Sign Kawhi Leonard To Three-Year Extension

1:00pm: Leonard’s new contract is a three-year extension worth $152.4MM, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links). The deal, which runs through 2026/27, doesn’t include a player option and comes in a little below Leonard’s maximum salary, Charania adds.

The precise value of Leonard’s maximum salary for next season won’t be known until the 2024/25 salary cap is set, but based on current projections, Leonard could have earned up to about $161MM on a three-year max extension; that figure could end up at nearly $170MM if the cap increases by the maximum 10%.

Leonard’s new deal will feature a salary in the $52MM range in year one before dipping to approximately $50MM for each of the next two seasons, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The cap would have to rise by more than 9% this summer for Kawhi’s max to get to $52MM — if it doesn’t, the first-year salary on his new deal will come in slightly lower than that.

The extension will make Leonard ineligible to be traded until July 10.

12:34pm: The Clippers have signed star forward Kawhi Leonard to a contract extension, the team announced today in a press release.

Prior to agreeing to a new deal, Leonard was eligible to reach unrestricted free agency this summer by turning down a $48.8MM player option for 2024/25. The terms of his extension aren’t yet known, but he had the ability to decline that option at any time up until June 30 and then add as many as four years to the final season of his current contract.

“We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with Kawhi,” president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “He is an elite player, a terrific partner and a relentless worker who knows how to win and makes it his first priority. He elevated our franchise from the moment he arrived. We feel fortunate that Kawhi chose to join the Clippers four years ago, and excited to keep building with him.”

Leonard, who signed with the Clippers in 2019 on the heels of leading the Raptors to a championship, has been hampered by injuries during his time in Los Angeles, appearing in no more than 57 regular season games in any of his first four years as a Clipper. He missed the entire 2021/22 season while recovering from an ACL tear that he sustained during the ’21 playoffs.

However, the 32-year-old has continued to perform at an All-NBA level when he’s healthy and has played in 32 of 36 Clippers games so far in his fifth season with the franchise, leading L.A. to a 23-13 record. Leonard has averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.8 steals in 34.5 minutes per night in 2023/24, posting an elite shooting line of .516/.430/.871.

Entering the day, Leonard and Paul George were on identical contracts, with George also eligible to sign an extension of up to four years if he declines a $48.8MM player option for ’24/25.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), the organization’s extension talks with George are ongoing, with the Clippers hoping to get both stars locked up to longer-term contracts as they prepare to move into their new arena later this year.

The Clippers won’t be able to extend James Harden‘s contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the 2024 offseason, but if the rest of this season goes well, the team would presumably be looking to sign him to a new deal as well.

The Clippers lost their first six games after acquiring Harden on November 1, but have been on fire since then, winning 20 of their past 26 games to move up in the Western Conference standings from 12th place to fourth.

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