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Kawhi Leonard Signs Short Contract, Sparks Conversation

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Details of Kawhi Leonard Contract Spark Conversation

This morning, the details surrounding Kawhi Leonard’s contract with the Los Angeles Clippers were announced: 3 years, $103M, with a player option in the third year. What was astonishing to some it just how short this contract may end up being… And that we may be in another Kawhi Sweepstakes in 2021. Further, Kawhi’s player option year is in the same season as Paul George’s, meaning both of the newest Clippers may be hitting Free Agency at the same time.

This “2+1” contract is reminiscent of contracts like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. The top tier of players can guarantee that they are always max dollar players, and the security they’ve earned in that often trumps the security in a longer contract. For example, Durant suffered a devastating injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and was still comfortable opting out of his contract in Golden State because he knew he could find more money elsewhere.

In one likely scenario, Leonard and George will find success in LA and simply re-up for more money in 2021. They will be eligible for a higher ceiling max contract, both based on their accomplishments and the steady rise of the salary cap.

In another scenario, however, something could go wrong with the pairing in the Clipper locker room and one or both could leave. Further, suitors for the Free Agent class of 2021 suddenly could see Leonard and George joining the likes of fellow NBA All Stars LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Blake Griffin, and Chris Paul, two time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, and several up and coming young stars like Julius Randle or Justise Winslow.

While this feels new and shaky for the fans, it may be the new reality for the stars. Taking shorter contracts, assuming you can still be rewarded after them, makes logical sense.

But, back to the Clippers, does this make the trade for Paul George feel different? Even if t’s hard to isolate George as the only asset the Clippers received (reports are that he demanded a trade after talking with Kawhi, making it a package deal), but they did give up an unprecedented amount of future draft picks, a solid starting perimeter player in Danilo Gallinari, and a promising young Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

But what the trade for George and signing of Kawhi Leonard did do, as well as the pair of All-NBA signings in Brooklyn, is prove one thing: the best thing a team can do to gain stars is be a strong franchise. The Clippers became the first team in the modern NBA to make the playoffs and win playoff games without any All-Stars. The Nets were a strong six seed led by 23-year-old All-Star in D’Angelo Russell and a cast of other role players.

Now, both teams have two of the best players in the world.

Clearly deals as short as Leonard and George’s may worry fans. The thought that a mortgaged future may be for two years of bliss seems overtly short sighted. But, if lessons from this wild Free Agency teaches us what to think about the impending ones, the answer is not to worry about those things, but to be a strong franchise in a good location.

Or, for Clipper fans, “pLAy your way,” as they claimed to do in the first round of the playoffs last spring.

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Isaiah Thomas to Miss Start of the Season After Having Thumb Surgery

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Since his breakout season in 2016, it has been a revolving door of injuries for Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas left the Boston Celtics after a year where he garnered MVP attention in the 2016-17 season, when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving.

A hip injury plagued his tenure with the Cavaliers, leading him to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in the middle of the season, prior to becoming a free agent the following year.

Thomas would then sign a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, as he tried to regain his value before heading to free agency again.

With the Nuggets, Thomas was kept off the court with injuries, before falling out of the rotation altogether by the time Denver was in the playoffs.

Now Thomas was set to get another chance to lead a backcourt, when the Washington Wizards signed him to play alongside Bradley Beal for the upcoming season.

Unfortunately Thomas cannot catch a break, as he had to undergo a thumb surgery today after getting injured in a pickup game with teammates.

Thomas will now miss the beginning of the season, as string of bad luck continues for the two-time All-Star.

Outside of DeMarcus Cousins, no one has had worse luck in the NBA when it comes to injuries then Thomas.

Hopefully he can make a fully recovery from the injury and return to have a productive season for the Wizards this year.

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Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard Want to Play in 2020 Summer Olympics

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The FIBA World Cup proved to be an embarrassing affair for Team USA, as the Americans were defeated for the first internationally in some time.

Team USA advanced to the quarterfinals in the tournament, before being upset and eliminated by France. From there, the Americans lost their next matchup to Serbia and ended up finishing seventh overall.

But the one thing that Team USA did accomplish in the FIBA World Cup is that by making it to the quarterfinals, they qualified to play in the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The biggest reason that Team USA struggled in the FIBA World Cup is that a majority of our best superstars chose to stay home and not play.

That likely won’t be the case for the Olympics though, as players are more motivated to compete in that event, on a stage that garners way more national attention.

The Team USA is already starting to look much deeper, as Stephen Curry has announced his interest in competing in the Olympics next summer.

Curry has never played in the Olympics, but would obviously give Team USA a great chance to take home a gold medal. Another player that has not appeared in the Olympics is Damian Lillard.

Lillard is another superstar guard that has announced his intentions to play in the upcoming Olympics, giving Team USA a great one-two scoring punch.

Lillard and Curry can make threes rain from any place on the court, giving Team USA a potent scoring backcourt like we have never seen in international play.

With all due respect to Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell, Lillard and Curry would represent a great upgrade to Team USA’s FIBA roster. Especially as they would push players like Walker and Mitchell to the bench.

Finishing seventh in the FIBA World Cup was disappointing for Team USA, but there is a great chance they rectify that in the upcoming 2020 Olympics.

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Three-Time NBA Champion Shaun Livingston Announces His Retirement

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Over the past five seasons, the Golden State Warriors have put together one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning three championships and making five-straight appearances in the NBA Finals.

Now they are turning the page to a new era of Warriors basketball, still surrounded around their homegrown ‘Big Three’ of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green’.

But the role players from those great Warriors teams have moved on and for some, are calling it quits altogether. As Shaun Livingston just announced his retirement from the NBA.

In his farewell message, Livingston cites “the injury”, referring to a devastating knee injury that he suffered back in 2007.

The injury was so bad for Livingston, that it almost resulted in his leg being amputated it was so bad.

Livingston made a remarkable recovery from the injury and turned in a fantastic career. The last stages of his career came with the Golden State Warriors, were he proved to be an excellent backup point guard to Curry.

Without Livingston’s ability to make plays and play stout defense at 6-foot-7, the Warriors would not have been three-time champions.

Congrats to Livingston on a great career, which we never could have expected him to have back in 2007.

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