Heading into this free agency class, there was a lot up in the air. Where would Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball go? What moves would the Lakers make to improve after LeBron James‘ first round playoff exit? Among so many unknowns, the one near-certainty, at least internally, was the expected return of Kawhi Leonard to the LA Clippers.
Following weeks of public criticism, rumors, and speculation as to what he would do, Leonard and the Clippers agreed to a deal that would bring the two-time NBA Finals MVP back to Los Angeles.
“Kawhi is a transcendent player and a relentless worker who improves himself every day,” Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “We share many of the same goals, which include a long-term relationship. This agreement marks another important moment for our franchise and our fans, as we strive to create a championship-caliber organization, where players find the success and fulfillment they seek. We’re eager to continue building with Kawhi. For now, we will do whatever we can to support him in his recovery from injury. We look forward to seeing him back where he wants to be, on the court with his teammates.”
Before the details of the new contract were even announced, Kawhi Leonard was seen supporting the Clippers’ Summer League team with Paul George, Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, and Marcus Morris.