With LeBron James taking his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard is now more open to landing with the Los Angeles Clippers, according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania (via The Herd with Colin Cowherd).
Per Charania’s appearance:
One thing that’s been made abundantly clear. I’m going to stress this. There’s no guarantee if Kawhi Leonard hits the market next summer that he’s going to sign with the Lakers, period. I think his options have broadened a little bit, just inside L.A. There’s another team, obviously, in L.A. I think he’d be very much open to the Clippers.
And there’s a belief around the league that if the Sixers came hard, that there could be a potential there for him potentially being there long-term.
I don’t think there’s much interest in the Boston Celtics scenario for him.
Around Kawhi, what’s been made abundantly clear is there’s not an interest to go join a super team. I don’t think he’s jumping for joy that LeBron James is in L.A. with the Lakers. If anything, that’s going to make him look maybe more toward the Clippers. Because this is a guy that won Finals MVP against LeBron James. You think he’s amped up and wants to join LeBron now? I think that’s been overstated, and the Spurs are beginning to realize that and beginning to realize that we might have a broadened market for him.
Clippers Trade Wesley Johnson to Pelicans for Alexis Ajinca
In corresponding moves, the Clippers will waive Ajinca and guard Juwan Evans in order to ensure that they are at 15 player roster limit for opening night later this week, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Los Angeles will save $849K by swapping out Wesley Johnson for Alexis Ajinca and are now $3.9M below the luxury tax.
Clippers’ Tobias Harris Explains Why He Turned Down Contract Extension
Los Angeles Clippers forward Tobias Harris turned down a contract extension offer from the team over the summer, one that was a four-year, $80 million contract offer, willing to bet on himself in free agency next summer.
“For myself and my representation, we looked at it. We did really process it to make that decision,” Harris said, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “At the end of the day, it is $80 million. But for me, it’s more of going out and earning what my value is. It has nothing to do with me figuring out what the Clippers are doing or things like that.”
“No, I love the whole organization. I love the team. I hope this relationship that we have is long-lasting. But it’s more of just on myself as a player, just pushing myself to see where I’m at at the end of the year. And we’ll go from there. That’s where it was. Both sides, we talked about it and both sides had really good dialogue on that. So it wasn’t nothing. We really were thankful that offer was there.”
Harris is likely seeking a max contract offer from the Clippers, or a more lucrative offer elsewhere next summer, and will have this upcoming season to make his case that he is worth every penny of such a lucrative offer.
Clippers’ Steve Ballmer Talks New Arena, Tanking, Down Year
The Los Angeles Clippers appear to be headed for a rough season but team owner Steve Ballmer rejects the idea that the team is going to be in tank mode, or that the team will simply accept a losing season.
“That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” Ballmer said toClippers’ season ticket holders and fans, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliot.
“People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”
Naturally, the Clippers need to talk the talk in with season ticket owners and fans, they have a business to run, but Ballmer was not reserved about his intentions to move the Clippers out of the Staples Center, where they currently share a home with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We’re moving to Inglewood come hell or high water,” he said of a proposed arena near the site of the stadium being constructed for the NFL’s Rams and Chargers. “We gotta have a house. So we’re working on a plan to get our own house. We want to get our own house. It turns out the way this works in L.A., which is much beloved to me, that if you start now you might be done in six years.”
Although Ballmer is determined to move out of the Staples Center, he has no intentions of leaving Los Angeles.
“I love L.A. I also love my wife, by the way, but I love L.A. and I don’t want there to be any mistake about it. We want to be part of the fabric of this community” Ballmer said.
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