In August of 2021, Kawhi Leonard signed a four-year, $176.3 million contract with the LA Clippers. This offseason, he’s eligible to sign an extension, but he has a $48.8 million player option in 2024-25. Law Murray of The Athletic reported that Leonard has never signed an extension in the NBA. If history repeats itself, Leonard will become a free agent in the 2024 offseason.
In his 11-year NBA career, Kawhi Leonard has played for the Spurs, Raptors, and Clippers. He’s a two-time NBA champion and two-time Finals MVP. This coming season, Leonard is set to make $45.6 million. The following season in 2024-25, Leonard has a $48.8 million player option.
Murray noted that Leonard never signing an extension in the NBA is a telling sign. He said that history says that Leonard will “reach the open market”. If he declines the player option for 2024-25, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
Kawhi Leonard is extension-eligible, Max Christie is looking to make a second-year leap, and more Clippers/Lakers notes: https://t.co/pkEXESbNFu
— Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors) July 19, 2023
All signs point to Kawhi Leonard not wanting to sign an extension with the LA Clippers
Kawhi Leonard has made around $230 million in career earnings and none of that money has come on a contract extension. After winning Finals MVP for the Spurs in 2014, Leonard hit restricted free agency. He then signed a five-year, $94 million max contract to stay with San Antonio.
His five-year deal included a player option in the final season, which he opted out of. Leonard played one season for the Raptors in 2019 and helped lead them to an NBA title. After winning his second Final MVP, Kawhi signed a three-year, $103 million deal with the Clippers.
In 2021 he would once again opt out of a player option he had. Leonard then resigned to his current four-year, $176 million contract. With a player option in 2024-25, Kawhi is setting himself up to hit free agency. This is clearly a strategic play that Leonard and his agents have had throughout his career in the NBA.
Source: Basketball Insider