Los Angeles Clippers: Don’t worry about Kawhi Leonard’s contract

It was announced almost a week ago that Kawhi Leonard was signing with the Los Angeles Clippers and on Wednesday we learned his contract details.

The Los Angeles Clippers shifted the entire landscape of the NBA. Not only did the front office cash in on months of reports and sign Kawhi Leonard, but the team also sent a historic trade package to land him a second star in Paul George.

The Clippers did sell their future in a sense by sending the Oklahoma City Thunder a total of five first-round draft picks as well as promising young point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and expiring contract Danilo Gallinari.

It is not all bad as two of the picks belonged to the Miami Heat. However, the Clippers will be without a first-round pick in 2022, 2024 and 2026 as well as swapping their first-round pick (if it is better than the Thunder’s) in 2023 and 2025.

If the Clippers do not win a title the team could threaten to be the new Brooklyn Nets in five or so years. Luckily for the team, they are primed to win it all and if they do, it will all be worth it.

There is a new worry though about how long the team will actually be a title contender. While most fans expected those future picks to be low in the first round, it was reported on Wednesday that Kawhi Leonard only signed a two-year contract with a player option for the third year.

Paul George also has two more years on his contract before a player option in year three. The Clippers are only getting a guaranteed two years guaranteed out of their superstar tandem, which could be worrisome.

Anything can happen and let’s say one of them gets hurt each of the first two years. The Clippers seemingly then would have sold their future for two fun years that could end up without a title.

That definitely is a legitimate concern but we are here to tell you why you should not be stressing too much about these contracts. Yes, the Clippers could absolutely be without Leonard and George in three years, although we think that is unlikely.

There is one very smart reason why Leonard only agreed to a two-year deal with a third-year player option. Two more years in the league will give him 10 years of total service time. Once he hits that 10-year mark Leonard is eligible to make 35 percent of the salary cap, right now he is eligible to make 30.

So instead of committing those extra years and making less, Leonard is ensuring that after 10 years he can get the massive payday that he deserves. He is only maximizing his value by doing this.

Some may say that because of Leonard’s personality if the Los Angeles Clippers are absolutely dominant he might get bored and try to find a new challenge. He just showed us this offseason that winning a title in Toronto didn’t convince him to stay with the Raptors.

However, the difference in this situation is that the entire narrative around Leonard joining the Clippers is around the premise of him coming home. If being home is really as important as it is made out to be for Leonard, then he won’t be.

He is playing at home and he is serving as the face of the franchise. Even if George does not re-sign, Leonard gets to dictate what kind of pieces the Clippers pursue and there always will be replacements available.

There still is that outside chance that he does leave the team and we are not completely ruling that out. However, all of the reasons why we think Leonard joined the Los Angeles Clippers will be the same reasons that keep him in LA for the rest of his career.