Stephen A. Smith has had some pretty insane takes over the years, but this one just may take the cake.
Kawhi Leonard single handily made people put respect back on the Los Angeles Clippers after he signed with them. His two-way presence combined with Paul George make them a formittable duo that could challenge every year for the NBA title. Despite Leonard’s importance to the Los Angeles Clippers, basketball analyst Stephen A. Smith has recently suggested that it might not be in the Clippers’ best interests to part ways with Leonard.
“Let me be clear about something. Kawhi Leonard is a top-five talent in this game. He is elite. But when you take into account the load management, when you take into account that his personality doesn’t actually gravitate towards leadership… then you combine that with the fact that he’s not necessarily reliable, at least this postseason. He hasn’t gotten any younger or what have you. You look at the elevation of Terrence Mann, this second year player, who clearly is not on Kawhi’s level, but if you look at the athleticism, the youth, the fervor, the “want it” mentality… and you’re talking about building a culture then I’m sorry. I think that it’s something that [Steve] Balmer and the crew have to think about long term.”
Leonard has a player option worth $36 million for the 2021-22 season, which gives him an out if he would like to take it.
Despite his injury history, Leonard is still a Top 5 player in the NBA. This is the same man who was traded by the Spurs to the Toronto Raptors and promptly led them to their first NBA championship in franchise history.
It remains to be seen what the veteran forward will do when it’s time to decide his future with the team.
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