Kawhi Leonard
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard Is So Predictable

The excitement of the 2021 NBA offseason is mostly past us now. Most of the big free agents have signed their new deals and the 2021 NBA Draft was a few weeks ago. However, Kawhi Leonard took a suspiciously long time to decide he was returning to the Los Angeles Clippers. Yesterday, ESPN reported that Leonard was planning on re-signing (still not official), but his apparent hesitancy should not have been surprising to anybody.

Here’s what I wrote about Kawhi a month ago when a report came out that he was dissatisfied with the Clippers medical staff:

Whether or not the medical staff is the real reason for Kawhi’s discontent, he will be an unrestricted free agent after this year. Him leaving Los Angeles wouldn’t really be a surprise since there’s already a rumored excuse for his departure.

Karl Heiser, “Kawhi Leonard Has a Problem With Something? That’s Not New”

Kawhi Has Done Nothing for the Clippers to Warrant This Behavior

Kawhi leaked a rumor to set the stage for his possible departure. He opted out of a $36 million option, then he waited a really long time to decide whether he would re-sign with Los Angeles or go elsewhere. Clippers fans should be really upset with his behavior. Robert Horry had this to say about Kawhi’s approach to free agency:

As a Clipper fan, I would be mad at Kawhi…With him sitting back, waiting and trying to see what other guys are getting and see what he wants to do is not fair to the organization. Because the organization went out of its way to give you everything you wanted these past couple seasons, but now you are putting them in a bad situation. You talking about winning championships and being better…if you don’t sign early so people see Kawhi is staying put…that’s not fair to the organization. You need to come step up to the plate just like they stepped up to the plate for you.

Robert Horry, via ESPN’s The Jump

Kawhi’s Commitment Problem

Big Shot Bob hit the nail on the head here. Kawhi has not earned the right to yank a franchise around like he has with Los Angeles. They’ve been utterly disappointing since he came to the Clippers, and a lot of that has to be on him as the star player. Imagine forcing an organization to commit a ton of time and resources to you as a player, but not committing to be part of that organization and instead looking for other options. I’m usually very pro-player, but Kawhi has not earned the right to strong-arm the Clippers in that way.

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