Kawhi Leonard, Clippers Agree to Reported 4-Year, $176.3M Contract in Free Agency

Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty ImagesAccording to Chris Haynes, Yahoo Sports and Shamscharania of The Athletic and Stadium, Kawhi Leonard signed a four-year, $176.3 Million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.The final year of the pact will include a player option.Leonard was one the most likely free agents, but it was expected that he would be returning to the Clippers. It was unclear if he would take up his $36million player option for 2021-22.Although he declined the offer and went on to the open market, it was possible that he might have picked it up, since it would have allowed for him to sign a 5-year, $235m deal next offseason.Or, ESPN's Bobby Marks pointed out, he could have opted-in this year and signed a four-year extension immediately.Leonard could miss the entire 2021-22 season, or most of it, due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He took the short-term increase in pay and the security of a 4-year contract. He landed enormous money, regardless of how much he was paid.He has earned it. He averaged 24.8 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists last season. He shot 51.2 percent from field, 39.8 from three, and 88.5 percent from charity. As a smothering defender, he is still the NBA's best player in two-way. He was an All-Star, first-team All-NBA selection, and second-team All-Defensive.Although Leonard and Paul George didn't lead the Clippers to a championship in their first two seasons together there is an argument that they might have if Leonard had not tore his ACL last year, it's possible that they would have.To achieve that goal, he will need at least three more and possibly four more seasons with Clippers.