LA Clippers: Why Luke Kennard Extension is a Worthwhile Risk

LA Clippers Luke Kennard (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Luke Kennard (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers inked Luke Kennard to a four year extension, just a little after trading for him. That was a calculated risk that was worth taking.

On Monday, we learned that the LA Clippers and Luke Kennard came to an agreement on a contract extension worth $64 Million over 4 years – the same contract that Marcus Morris signed earlier in the offseasonseason.

While that’s a lot of money, this contract is really just a gamble on Kennard’s knees holding up. If they do, this deal could look like a bargain down the road.

Luke’s per-36 minute statline has looked pretty good every season he’s been in the league, but last season he was able to show that he can do it in big minutes. In his third season with Detroit, he put up a statline of 15.8 points, 4 assists and 3.5 rebounds on .49/.40/.89 shooting.

On a team like the LA Clippers, when he can expect more open shots and defenses need to key on several other players, he’s a perennial 50/40/90 threat. Not to mention his improving ability to handle the ball when called upon.

Having a hyper-efficient scorer (he’s never had a TS% at or under league average) is invaluable. And with Kawhi enjoying his spot posting up in the midrange, the Clippers will be able to put defenses in an impossible spot, choosing between leaving Kawhi in a 1-on-1 in the post or helping off of an elite shooter.

If Kennard plays to his potential and stays healthy, there’s little question he’s worth this kind of money. It’s that “if” that’s a scary question.

When Kennard was traded to the Clippers in that weird three-team deal that had the Clips shipping out Landry Shamet, we knew that we were getting an upgrade at shooting guard, but one that had struggled to stay on the court.

Kennard only played 28 games last season, and 63 the season before that. Tendonitis of the knees is a scary prospect, especially for a team that already deals with knee injuries to its main star in Kawhi Leonard.

The worst case scenario here is that Luke continues to struggle with his knees and can’t manage to keep healthy, and the Clippers have money tied up on the bench.

But the best case scenario is a young, dynamic player who’s an elite shooter and slots in perfectly either coming off the bench or starting next to our stars. .

In my mind, that’s a gamble you take every time. If Kennard can’t play much, our title chances are hurt but not gone. If he continues the improvement he’s shown and plays up to his potential, our title chances take a big step forward.

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What do you think about the deal? How are you feeling about Kennard? Let us know on social media and here at Clipperholics!