One of the best players that might be prospectively available to be signed as part of the 2021 free-agent class is Kawhi Leonard. The LA Clippers’ star man is widely expected to use the player option on his contract to re-sign. However, the NBA has seen far crazier moves in its history, with a number of teams expected to be willing to use their checkbooks generously considering the sheer pedigree of Kawhi Leonard.
He was unlucky with injuries during the 2021 NBA Playoffs and missed the entire Western Conference Series against the Phoenix Suns. Additionally, Leonard’s recent surgery to repair a partially torn ACL in his right knee also led to rumors about a potential switch for the two-time NBA champion in the coming offseason. Recent reports suggest that the Dallas Mavericks will be willing to go in for a move even if Kawhi Leonard is unavailable for the entirety of the 2021-22 NBA season.
NBA Rumors: Dallas Mavericks to pursue Kawhi Leonard despite long-term absence
A potential “big 2” of Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard is certainly a mouth-watering possibility. Initially, Leonard was expected to re-sign with the LA Clippers and contend for the championship next season. However, Skip Bayless of Undisputed recently suggested that the Clippers’ training staff had been guilty of “mis-diagnosing” Leonard’s injury from day one, which might as well result in a move.
“Given the fact that Kawhi and his inner circle believe that the Clippers’ staff misdiagnosed this injury from day 1, I am not going to be at all shocked if we get another Kawhi bombshell.”
In such a scenario, a potential deal would be likened to Kevin Durant’s 2019 move to the Brooklyn Nets. Durant signed a four-year $164 million contract with the Nets in a sign-and-trade deal despite being unavailable for the entirety of the season. Kawhi Leonard has already proved his capabilities to carry teams to the NBA championship, and is arguably the best two-way player in the NBA currently.
Recent reports have suggested that the Dallas Mavericks will be interested in furnishing a similar deal with the LA Clippers, with Kristaps Porzingis an asset that might possibly move on. Regardless, a potential move does make sense considering the Mavericks have only recently signed Jason Kidd as their head-coach. The franchise will be looking to make a splash in the coming offseason and a potential duo of Leonard and Doncic is sure to send shockwaves throughout the league.
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