The Los Angeles Clippers were two wins away from making it to their first NBA Finals.
This all occurred while their best player, Kawhi Leonard, was sidelined with a knee injury.
Perhaps if the Clippers had a healthy Leonard, they would have been NBA champions.
Now, they have to decide whether it is the right move to re-sign him.
Leonard is an elite player, but there are some issues with re-signing him.
For one, Leonard has a partially torn ACL and will miss most of the season next year.
Also, Leonard can be an odd player to have within the organization.
He can have times where he doesn’t talk to other teammates.
We never know what his next move is as well.
In fact, there is a chance he could sign somewhere else, after several years of him positioning himself to go to Los Angeles.
Kawhi Leonard will listen to other teams in free agency, per @ChrisBHaynes
Kawhi is still expected to re-sign with the Clippers. pic.twitter.com/3DPLR9pmyV
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 2, 2021
However, the Clippers need to re-sign him and keep him for the long-term future of this franchise.
He Is Still Elite
Not re-signing Leonard would be easy if he was a good player at best.
Instead, Leonard is one of the best players in the league, when healthy.
The playoffs this season showed that he could still dominate in high-pressure situations.
Kawhi Leonard this playoffs:
Reminding us he’s still one of the best playoff players of all time. pic.twitter.com/ij6a6bVFF9
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 5, 2021
Not a lot of players can replicate his performances.
That is why the Clippers cannot lose him.
He is a special talent that any team would love to have.
Leonard will hopefully get healthy again and reclaim his spot as one of the best players in the NBA.
The injury is scary, as his injury history is now becoming long.
The partially torn ACL will practically have the same timetable as a complete tear.
Next season will be odd for the Clippers if they were to re-sign him.
For two seasons of this era of Clippers basketball, we have seen them get closer each time to the ultimate goal.
However, next season might not be the same.
They still need to bring back such an elite player.
What Would Be The Move After Leonard?
Big-market teams love to get their hands on star players and superstars.
Leonard is a legitimate superstar.
If they were to forgo re-signing him, then what would be the next move?
The Clippers have tried so hard for the last decade to become an equal to the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, that has been very hard for them to achieve.
Leonard coming to the Clippers has brought them the closest to that goal in the team’s history.
The commercials, the new arena coming soon, and the big moves have put the Clippers in this position for the future.
It would not be ideal to abandon it after just a few seasons.
The Clippers should try their best to not just re-sign Leonard, but to lock him up for more than just a three-year contract with an option after the second year.
Leonard has been trying to get to Los Angeles and he is now here.
There is no reason for both sides to breakup and move on from one another.