Could there be another super duo sharing the Staples Center with LeBron James and Anthony Davis next season? ESPN NBA super-insider Adrian Wojnarowski seems to think so.
Woj dropped a bomb on the evening SportsCenter on Friday saying that it’s a “real possibility” that Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant could team up with the Los Angeles Clippers next season.
“The other one we haven’t been talking a lot about but is a real possibility is with Kawhi Leonard with the Clippers,” Wojnarowski said when asked by Scott Van Pelt about possible landing spots for Durant. “Imagine that star power in Los Angeles, in the Staples Center.”
Woj goes on to explain that the Clippers could likely open two max spots by finding a deal for Danilo Gallinari. The veteran forward is due to make $22.6 million next season and is coming off the best year of his career.
Durant is expected to be out for most if not all of next season following his Achilles injury in the NBA Finals, but is still almost guaranteed max contract money wherever he lands. While it would required a year to come to fruition, pairing Leonard with Durant would make the Clippers a firm title contender.
ESPN reported that Durant — the 2014 NBA MVP — is expected to engage in talks with four teams: the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks.
Clippers Fighting Off Threat of Lakers For Kawhi
The battle for Leonard this offseason was thought to be mostly a two-horse race between the Clippers and Toronto Raptors. However, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that the Lakers have suddenly become a “true threat” to sign the reigning NBA Finals MVP.
“How high is the bar for the Clippers now?,” Stein tweeted. “They might not only have to beat out Toronto … they might have to convince Kevin Durant to choose the Clippers to then convince Kawhi to choose the Clippers over the Lakers. League sources insist that the Laker threat is that significant.”
If Leonard stays north of the border, he can sign with the Raptors for five years and $190 million. If he can sign with another franchise for a max of four years and $140 million.
The Lakers would offer a similar draw to Leonard as the Clippers do as a chance to return home to Southern California. However, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Raptors are the
“The appeal of returning home to Southern California is enticing to the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but with the trust the Raptors built while Leonard led the franchise to its first NBA title by upsetting the Golden State Warriors, rival executives view his current team as the favorite to land him when the free-agent negotiating period begins June 30, sources said.”
Last season, Leonard led the Raptors to their first title in franchise history while averaging career-highs in points (26.6) and rebounds (7.3).