Clippers star Kawhi Leonard plans to enter 2021 free agency

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard holds a player option of $ 36,016,200 for the next season.
Leonard, via Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register:
"For my current situation, I'm only concentrating on this season," said Leonard, who is not eligible for an extension. "I'm not saying I'm going anywhere or I'm going to stay here, but I'm just focusing on the season. If I'm healthy then of course the best decision is to decline the player option, but that doesn't mean I go or stay.
This has always been the obvious plan, and I appreciate that Leonard is open about it rather than pretending otherwise.
When Leonard signed with the Clippers last year, he signed a three-year deal with a player option. He was two years away from ten years of service, making him eligible for a higher maximum wage bracket (35% of the salary ceiling). The third year player option was just a safeguard in case something went wrong.
Next summer, Leonard is eligible for a maximum salary of at least $ 39,344,970 (higher if NBA earnings this season are higher than planned). That is obviously more than his player option salary ($ 36,016,200).
Even if Leonard decides to stay with the Clippers for exactly one more year, this is his best course. He would sign off and re-sign for a higher salary next season. He would also get a two-year contract with a player option and re-insurance in case something went wrong.
The Clippers remain strong favorites to re-sign Leonard. Not much has changed since he picked her a year and a half ago.
You're still in his southern California home. You still have Paul George, Leonard's self-chosen co-star. They still have a strong squad and the financial commitment to keep the buzz going.
Leonard isn't even expected to explore other teams.
But because he's on his way to becoming a free agency in 2021, Leonard will have the opportunity to leave. Sometimes players who sign an extension, if allowed, reconsider their situation until the free agency opens. The chemical problems of the clippers are a treacherous variable.
As unlikely as Leonard is, his departure would destroy the franchise.
That's why the Clippers are under so much pressure this season.
Clippers star Kawhi Leonard plans to join free agency in 2021, which originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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Kawhi Leonard
Los Angeles Clippers

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