Unlike Paul George, Kawhi Leonard has yet to sign a max extension with the Los Angeles Clippers. This has left some questions regarding the 30-year-old superstar's plans this summer with a player option for the final year of his three-year deal. It is still widely believed that Kawhi will re-up with the Clippers, but another earlier-than-expected exit from the playoffs leaves some wondering what will happen this summer.
With all of that in mind, let's take a look at the three most likely free agent destinations for Leonard.
3. Miami Heat
It's no secret Pat Riley and the Miami Heat know how to attract superstars to south Florida. It's also widely known that Leonard and Heat star Jimmy Butler are close friends. The Heat's payroll is tight right now, but with team options for both Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala, Miami could get close to the number needed to sign Kawhi. And if the summer of 2010 proved anything, Miami can make any and all moves it needs to clear the space for a player of Kawhi's caliber to join the team.
2. New York Knicks
The Knicks will enter the offseason with more cap space than any team that would receive even remote interest from Kawhi. While the Knicks don't have the star power already in place that Miami or the Clippers do, they do have assets galore. On top of the cap space that would allow them to bring in another All-Star alongside Leonard, they have multiple tradeable first-round picks in the next three seasons. It might not be the most attractive roster right now, but it presents the most flexibility and ability to improve over any other choice. Getting saying power and a choice to hand-pick his next teammates could be something that wins over Kawhi and his camp.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
Despite everything said above, the Clippers remain the heavy favorite to retain Kawhi's services. When he went to the Clippers, it was about more than basketball, it was a coming home party. That will probably remain a huge factor in his decision-making process this time around as well. And despite the friendship with Butler and the flexibility of the Knicks, the Clippers are still the closest to a contender of the bunch, even if they run back a very similar roster next season. With great role players and valuable veterans increasingly looking for a chance at a title in exchange for smaller contracts, Los Angeles can still find ways to improve its squad, despite its complete lack of draft assets and cap situation.
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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.