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Kawhi Leonard saga sequel could be just 2 years away

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We have that and more in Thursday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: Toronto Raptors-Championship Parade Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this is fascinating. Everyone assumed that when the Clippers landed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George last week, that meant that Leonard would sign a 4-year deal. It turns out he’s signing a 3-year deal with a player option, meaning he’s really signing a 2-year deal. He can opt out in 2021, the same year that PG-13 can become a free agent. (And so can several other big name players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James.)

It turns out the Clippers traded all of those picks and players for two guaranteed years with this incredible duo instead of a likely three, which is a little more frightful. We have very recent evidence that even winning a championship doesn’t keep Kawhi around necessarily. If Kawhi decides after two years he doesn’t need to live in L.A. during the season and he’s not loving Doc Rivers or anything about the Clippers, things could fall apart quite quickly for L.A.

You still do the deal if you know Kawhi is doing a 2+1 contract instead of a 3+1. But you do it with a little more trepidation. The downside risk is greater. That matters, but only to an extent if you’re chasing championships and stars want to join forces on your team.

Trouble in the BIG3

The BIG3 announced on Wednesday it had “deactivated” four of its most well-known players, including Baron Davis and Lamar Odom. A couple seem like they are gone because they were out-of-shape and weren’t putting in effort. Jermaine O’Neal appears to have a health issue.

Meanwhile, Big Baby Davis got fined but not suspended for hitting a camera and stripping down on the sidelines after getting ejected from a game this week. The BIG3 announced some nebulous personnel changes, as well, with no word on what those are.

Sports leagues are hard.

Links

I wrote about Masai Ujiri finally getting his chance to rebuild the Raptors.

How the Clippers went from Lob City to Kawhi Leonard in nine moves.

How long does a championship window stay open?

Official Kevin Durant Nets gear now available, which is some sentence.

David Beckham now has a media company that is partnering with LeBron’s media company. LeBron is going to be on the billionaire list in the next 10 years, huh?

What Bill Bertka means to the Lakers.

Sussing out who got over- or underpaid in free agency.

Be excellent to each other.