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Where Will Kawhi Leonard Play Next Season? Here Are Four Options

By Stephen Douglas
Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four
Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four / Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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The Los Angeles Clippers lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Phoenix Suns. Kawhi Leonard did not participate because of an injury. His only appearance throughout the series was when Mike Breen caught him "going crazy" during Game 4. Leonard has a player option for next season which he previously said he would likely decline if he were healthy. So if he does plan to be healthy, where is he going? Some suitors are already emerging.

Los Angeles Clippers

Following the season-ending loss, Marcus Morris tried to sound confident that Kawhi would be back in LA next season. It makese sense for Morris to want him back as he is one of the few players under Clippers team control past next season.

And it makes perfect sense for Kawhi to return. The Clippers will be happy to pay him. It's a team that just got very close to the NBA Finals without Kawhi on the floor. Just about any team with a healthy Kawhi Leonard can compete for a title. The question is, did Kawhi really lose faith in the team's medical staff? And on top of that, was he happy with the other things he cares about over the last two years? It seems like no one has any idea what those things are so just assume LA checks those boxes if he re-signs.

Dallas Mavericks

Kawhi Leonard and Luka Doncic would be a hell of a pair and The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor said that the Mavs were one of the teams who will push hard for him. Luka is durable and Kawhi has gotten a chance to see him up close during the last two postseasons when Doncic averaged 33.5 points, 9.5 assists and 8.8 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from three against the Kawhi and the Clippers.

Ideally for Dallas, they would probably work out a sign-and-trade and send Kristaps Porzingis to LA, but with Tim Hardaway becoming a free agent and another year before Luka Doncic's max extension would kick in (if he signs it...) then Kawhi could theoretically sign a one-year deal in Dallas without the Mavs being forced to move Porzingis. It's a tight window, but it might be worth it.

Miami Heat

Yes, the Miami Heat, another team mentioned by O'Connor. The Heat are finally involved in rumors involving a superstar. The only question is would Tyler Herro be willing to share the spotlight? Just kidding.

Victor Oladipo never even really played in Miami, but now he's a free agent. Plus Miami can decline the team option on Andre Iguodala's $15 million next season. And Goran Dragic's $19.4 million if they really want Leonard. With Jimmy Butler and Ban Adebayo signed to big money deals, adding Kawhi will be tight if they want any depth, but who needs that when you've got Kawhi?

New York Knicks

The Knicks have been searching for a max player for as long as they have existed. They only have $54 million on the books this coming season and only one player on the roster who isn't a team option in '22-'23. The Knicks have the potential to do anything. They usually do nothing, but they have complete flexibility. They even have a bunch of draft picks in case they wanted to do a sign and trade and lock Kawhi down. Not that it would ever happen because LOL Knicks. Sorry, but that's still the world we live in despite a single playoff appearance.

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