Kawhi Leonard Anticipates Return of Paul George, James Harden to Clippers Next Season

‣ Kawhi Leonard has signed a three-year, $153 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers and believes his superstar teammates, Paul George and James Harden, will also stay with the team.
‣ The Clippers hold the fourth-best odds to win this season’s championship, according to several NBA betting sites.
‣ Leonard’s new deal carries no player option, but it includes $52 million in the first year and about $50 million per season over the next two years.

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Kawhi Leonard inked a three-year, $153 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. This has sparked a flurry of questions about the future of his superstar teammates, Paul George and James Harden. Leonard, at 32, is confident that they’re not going anywhere.

He shared his thoughts after the Clippers’ 126-120 victory over the Toronto Raptors. “From what I’ve gathered from our talks, I think everyone’s coming back,” he said. “My signing an extension gives us a good shot at keeping both of them.”

The Clippers are currently fourth in line for this season’s championship, according to a couple of NBA betting sites. The Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Milwaukee Bucks are touted to have better odds.

Leonard had until June 30 to sign an extension, with a $48.7 million player option for the next season. His new deal doesn’t have a player option but offers $52 million in the first year and roughly $50 million per season for the next two years.

He’s currently pulling in $45.64 million this season. This is part of the four-year, $176.24 million deal he signed with Los Angeles in August 2021.

Basketball-Reference stats show that Leonard has played in just over half of his team’s regular-season games since joining the Clippers in 2019. He’s missed 151 out of 344 games.

The Clippers are also in talks with George about an extension. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that they want to secure both stars on longer-term contracts.

George, 33, has a $48.7 million player option for the next season. The eight-time All-Star is currently on a four-year, $176 million contract. He was thrilled for Leonard and hopes to stay a Clipper.

“Yeah, absolutely,” George responded when asked if Leonard’s extension could lead to his re-signing. “You lock in Kawhi, and that definitely leaves the door open for me. I’m very optimistic something will get done for me too.”

Both Clippers stars were eligible for a maximum extension of four years and $223 million at the start of the season, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Meanwhile, Harden is in the final season of the two-year, $68.64 million contract he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers in July 2022. His 15% trade bonus kicked in with the Nov. 1 trade from Philly to Los Angeles. Harden can’t sign a new deal until free agency.

Harden is keen on winning an NBA championship, so sticking with the Clippers makes sense. They have the fourth-best title odds, behind only the Celtics, Nuggets, and Bucks.

“Very important,” Harden told FOX Sports when asked about the significance of a ring to his legacy. “It’s always been that way. I want to give myself a chance to win, even though it’s really tough. Only one team is left standing at the end of the year. So, I’ll keep trying to do that.”

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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