Los Angeles Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard signed a four-year max contract extension with the team this past summer.
Said deal came mere weeks after he suffered a partially torn ACL in the NBA Playoffs, placing into question his status for the 2021-22 season.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP took part in Clippers media day on Monday, talking about both his extension and the aforementioned injury.
Kawhi Leonard injury update
Leonard indicated that he is “day-to-day” when it comes to his recovery from the torn ACL and failed to provide a timeline. That pretty much falls in line with what head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters.
“We don’t want to force him or put any pressure on him,” Lue said when asked about Leonard’s timeline. “We want to make sure he’s rehabbing and doing everything he can to get back as soon as possible. If that’s next season, it’s next season.”
Related: Updated 2021-22 NBA power rankings
Immediately after Leonard suffered the ACL injury in the Western Conference Semifinals, reports surfaced from Southern California that he would miss the entire 2021-22 season. But given we’re talking about a partially torn ACL, the timeline is a bit more mixed and one of a fully torn variety.
Kawhi Leonard hints he’ll retire as a member of the Clippers
This is rather interesting in that Leonard could have earned more money if he signed a two-year deal with a player option for the 2022-23 campaign. Apparently, the star forward wanted to make it clear to those in Southern California he has no intention of ever playing for another team.
Throughout the 2020-21 season, reports indicated that Leonard would return to Los Angeles. Said reports gave in to suggestions early this past summer that he would explore other options with the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors being bandied about as potential suitors. That obviously never came to fruition.
Leonard, 30, is averaging 26.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists in two seasons with the Clippers. He remains one of the top all-around players in the Association.