Kawhi Leonard is out for the foreseeable future. The two-time Finals MVP underwent surgery for a partially torn ACL recently, after he was ruled out of the Western Conference Finals against the Suns. The LA Clippers initially downplayed the seriousness of the injury. But given that it is a torn ACL, Leonard is not expected to take the field anytime soon. But when he does return, could he be playing for another team?
Skip Bayless hasn't ruled out the possibility of Kawhi leaving LA. Bayless was one of the first to report on the extent of the injury for Kawhi, and that there were disagreements between Kawhi's camp and the medical staff. Skip is concerned that the Clippers' medical staff misdiagnosing this injury could be the first step that eventually leads to Kawhi leaving LA just two years after his arrival.
“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 a-la two years ago…”
Bayless added that he isn't sure where Leonard would end up, as his options would be limited. Pat Riley could look to bring in Leonard, as Leonard has a good relationship with Jimmy Butler, and initially wanted to team up with him. The resurgence of the Knicks also makes them contenders, but Leonard would have doubts about his title aspirations there. This situation with the Clippers is similar to his falling out with the San Antonio Spurs, as his decision was also predicated on an injury suffered in the playoffs.
“And now I’m not so sure he won’t go elsewhere. I have no idea where ‘elsewhere’ would be. I’m sure Pat Riley would like to get into the middle of this, I’m sure the Knicks would. I don’t think Kawhi would go to the Knicks because I don’t think he’d think they have enough of a chance to win. But my point is, things have now changed with the Clippers, very possibly for the worse.”
Could Kawhi Leonard choose to leave the Clippers in this off-season? He has a player option this year which he is expected to decline, so Leonard has all the freedom in the world to make a decision about this.