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After trading away Blake Griffin this past season, the Los Angeles Clippers could be in the market for another face of the franchise this summer.
According to USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick, the Clippers are interested in San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard.
The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is under contract through next season and holds a $ 21.3 million player option for the 2019-20 season.
Leonard was limited to just nine games during the regular season due to a quadriceps injury. The 26-year-old forward averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game in limited action this season.
The injury has led to plenty of drama with the Spurs this season. Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright of ESPN reported back in January that Leonard has been “distant” and “disconnected” from the team. The next day, ESPN’s Jalen Rose said he was hearing that the two-time All-Star wanted out of San Antonio.
It was just last month that Wojnarowski reported the Spurs held a players-only meeting to push for Leonard to return for a playoff run. The former NBA Finals MVP did not play in a 113-92 Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.
As a result of the turmoil, many have wondered if he has played his final game in a Spurs uniform. And Los Angeles is reportedly keeping an eye on the situation.
The Clippers are a logical landing spot for Leonard. He is from the Los Angeles area and went to college at San Diego State. From the team’s perspective, losing Griffin, Chris Paul and possibly DeAndre Jordan in the span of a year leaves the franchise in need of a young star to build around.
Los Angeles also has draft assets to help facilitate a trade. Of course, it takes two sides to make a deal.