A couple of years ago, the Los Angeles Clippers went all the way to convince Kawhi Leonard to sign with them. They traded away a plethora of assets to pair him with Paul George and reportedly agreed to other undisclosed demands from Leonard's camp.
However, Leonard could opt out of his contract after just a couple of seasons with the team. That was a risky move for the Clippers as it would allow him to leave and pursue a ring elsewhere if things didn't go well.
Gladly for Steve Ballmer, it seems like they've done enough merits to convince Leonard of extending his stay, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski recently said that he's planning on re-signing with them:
"I think Kawhi is staying with the Clippers. He hasn't said that publicly. Probably won't until the day he signs his contract," Wojnarowski said, according to CBS Sports. "I think he's where he wants to be geographically. I think he's gotten along very well within the organization, with management, with ownership."
Woj added that Tyronn Lue's presence and the way he's dealt with the locker room were enough to convince Leonard that the Clippers were the right fit for him:
"I think Ty Lue has really, really been good this year for them... The way it's been described to me with Ty in L.A. is Ty can hit you without leaving a bruise. Can coach you hard, can hold guys accountable. I think that's an environment Kawhi likes. I think it's been good for this team," Wojnarowski concluded.
Kawhi had an outstanding season again with averages of 24.8 points 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.9 three-pointers per game on 51/39/88 shooting but missed 20 games due to injury management or different ailments.
Now, the Clippers will look to bounce back from last year's poor effort in the playoffs, and there's no doubt that leading them to their very first trip to the NBA Finals would cement his legacy as one of the greatest to ever do it.
Then again, he could also change his mind if the Clippers underperform in the postseason again, so this will be a key stretch for the future of the franchise.