The Los Angeles Clippers are contemplating whether or not to bring Kawhi Leonard off the bench, according to multiple sources. Head coach Tyronn Lue wants to help manage his minutes.
Of course, load management should be on any coach’s mind after a player comes back from an ACL injury. Besides the preseason, Leonard has not appeared in a game since the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Upon further review of the 2022-23 NBA season championship odds, a few NBA betting sites are giving the Clippers top-3 odds to win the title this season. Some sportsbooks show higher odds for the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.
Los Angeles Clippers have been considering the possibility of bringing Kawhi Leonard off the bench to start the season in order to manage his minutes, league sources tell @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 20, 2022
The Clippers need the five-time All-Star to remain healthy. In the 2021-22 season, the team finished 42-40 (.512) and eighth overall in the Western Conference standings.
While Los Angeles lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans in last season’s play-in tournament, Lue did a fantastic coaching job.
Considering the circumstances, the team was not expected to even qualify for the play-in tournament. Per multiple sportsbooks, the Clippers’ projected win total for the 2022-23 season is 52.5.
Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is deciding whether or not to bring Kawhi Leonard off the bench
With G.M. Michael Winger’s roster, the sky is the limit. In the second round of this year’s draft, Los Angeles selected Michigan star Moussa Diabate 43rd overall.
Furthermore, after John Wall reached a contract buyout with the Houston Rockets, the 10-year veteran signed a two-year, $13.28 million contract with the Clippers.
In addition to Nicolas Batum and Ivica Zubac re-signing with the team, Amir Coffey inked a three-year, $11 million deal as well.
During the 2020-21 season, in 52 starts, Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Plus, he shot 51.2% from the field and 39.8% from beyond the arc.
Prior to his injury, he received his fifth All-Star selection and third All-NBA First-Team selection.
Last August, following Leonard’s decision to opt out of the final year of his original contract, the forward re-signed with the Clippers on a four-year, $176.3 million contract.
His deal includes a $48,787,676 player option for the 2024-25 season and a 15% trade bonus. Leonard’s salary for the 2022-23 season is $42,492,492, worth nearly 22% of the team’s total salary cap.
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