Clippers re-sign star Kawhi Leonard

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Kawhi Leonard is sticking with the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA club announcing Thursday they had re-signed their star forward.

The Clippers didn't release terms of the deal, but ESPN reported that Leonard inked a four-year, $176.3 million max deal that includes a player option in the fourth year.

Leonard had declined his player option for $36 million in the upcoming season to become a free agent.

"Kawhi is a transcendent player and a relentless worker who improves himself every day," Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement.

"We share many of the same goals, which include a long-term relationship. This agreement marks another important moment for our franchise and our fans, as we strive to create a championship-caliber organization, where players find the success and fulfillment they seek. We’re eager to continue building with Kawhi."

Last season, was Leonard's second with the Clippers. He played in 52 games, averaging 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and a career-high 5.2 assists while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 88.5 percent from the free-throw line.

But Leonard missed the final eight games of the Clippers' playoff campaign after injuring his right knee against the Utah Jazz.

He had surgery to repair torn ligaments in July and will likely be sidelined when the 2021-22 season begins.

"For now, we will do whatever we can to support him in his recovery from injury," Frank said. "We look forward to seeing him back where he wants to be, on the court with his teammates."