When discussing the LA Clippers this season, the focus from outside viewers has almost exclusively been on the on-court product. After all, LA's trade for James Harden forced huge changes to the team's rotation and has since been one of the biggest reasons for their massive success.
But there were always huge off-court items of note as well. The biggest of which being what would happen to Kawhi Leonard after the current season, since his contract contained a player option for next season that would allow him to opt out and pursue deals with other teams if he so chose.
Speculation about whether Kawhi would stay or go were put to a swift end on Wednesday with the announcement that he had officially signed a new three-year, $152.4 million contract extension with the Clippers.
Kawhi's new deal will keep him in LA through 2027
This is of course massive news for a team looking like one of the best squads in the NBA at the moment, and looking to sure up their best players to keep their championship window open. Leonard is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals on 51/43/87% shooting splits for LA. With the Clippers set to move into the still-under-construction Intuit Dome next year, this move could not have come at a better time.
The deal being worth $152.4 million over three years will likely mean just a slight salary increase over the $45.6 million Leonard is earning this season. According to Shams Charania, there is no player option in the deal, meaning this contract will keep Kawhi in LA through the 2026-27 season.
The timing of this deal is worth noting, as the Clippers have currently won 20 of their last 26 games and look like they are in excellent position to make a deep run in the playoffs. Kawhi Leonard clearly feels good enough about the team's direction to remain with his hometown team for at least three more seasons.
Making this move will allow the Clippers to remain a championship contender in the coming years, and it will make them an increasingly attractive free agent destination as well.