Per the man himself, there’s a chance the L.A. Clippers star becomes a free agent next off-season — but he cautioned, “that doesn’t mean I’m leaving or staying.”
Leonard addressed his future during a media availability on Monday, indicating that his focus is firmly on the upcoming campaign just days away.
“I’m not saying I’m going anywhere else or staying here, but I’m just focused on the season,” he said. “Obviously, if I stay healthy, the best decision is to decline the player option but that doesn’t mean I’m leaving or staying.”
Declining his player option is, financially, the smart move — and a common one, too. Even if he intends to remain with the Clippers, declining his option allows him to earn more with the team on a new deal.
Earlier this month, the Clippers signed Paul George to a four-year max extension, locking up one half of the club’s star duo and naturally raising questions about whether Leonard is in L.A. long term.
Leonard hasn’t indicated a desire to leave his hometown team, with which he signed in July 2019 after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first ever NBA championship.
“I’m focused on the season,” Leonard reiterated. “We’ll talk about that when the timing’s right.”