The Los Angeles Clippers climbed up the preseason rankings after acquiring Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Some NBA analysts say that the Clippers are favorites to win next year’s NBA Finals with their strong defensive presence of Leonard, George and Patrick Beverly. With Lou Williams as a three-time Sixth Man of the Year on the squad as well, they could contest with LeBron James and Anthony Davis‘ Los Angeles Lakers as well as anyone.
With Leonard returning to his home state of California, it was expected for him to sign a long-term deal to secure his future for the next few years, but according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Leonard signed a three-year deal, two of those guaranteed with the third a player option. Meaning if he doesn’t like his position in his third year with the squad, he may leave. This limited deal also means he sacrificed a larger sum of money to open more cap space for George, or perhaps another player the Clippers are pursuing before the start of the season. Leonard’s contract contains $103 million for three potential years at Staples Center.
Like Leonard, George also has the same player option deal that he posses. Head coach Doc Rivers could persuade the two to resign eventually, if they achieve massive success in these two upcoming seasons. Both players are in their prime years with plenty of basketball years left under their belt. These two years puts pressure onto the Clippers organization that need to win the NBA Finals with their squad and go all in.
Even though the 2021 free agency is years away, according to Business Insider, the free agency class of that year could rack up serious talent, including George and Leonard, along with James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bradley Beal.
For now though, the Clippers have a two-time NBA Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Leonard on their team, with a more than capable squad of a co-star and role players around them.