The addition of former Nike marketing executive Nico Harrison to the Mavericks’ front office has opened the door for major free-agency signings. One of which could include two-time NBA Finals MVP and the formerly Nike-sponsored Kawhi Leonard, league sources say.
Kawhi has a player option for the 2021-2022 season.
When asked back in December on his views toward future with the Clippers, Kawhi responded, “obviously if I stay healthy the best decision is to decline the player option but that doesn’t mean I’m leaving or staying.”
Kevin O’Connor explains the possibility for a Mavs-Leonard agreement in his article from The Ringer.
“Dallas is considered by some executives to be the most serious threat to land Kawhi because of Luka Doncic’s presence and the front office’s ability to create maximum cap space or work out a sign-and-trade,” O’Connor writes. “During Leonard’s years with Nike, he also developed a good relationship with Nico Harrison, the Mavs’ new general manager and a former longtime executive at the company.”
Leonard suffered a right-knee sprain in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz, and could only watch his team come up short against the Phenix Suns in the conference finals.
Ever since, according to NBC Sports, rumors have circulated that Leonard disapproves of Clippers medical staff, a reason that resulted in his exit from San Antonio in 2018.
With today’s NBA being so full of superstars getting super contracts, it should come as no surprise if Kawhi wishes to test the waters this summer.