Here we go again. The idea Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard may jump ship and choose to decline his player option is back, and this time, fans of the Golden State Warriors are trying to will it into existence.
After the Clips lost Game 1 of their first-round playoff series to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, Warriors fans, who were perhaps feeling slightly down after their team’s elimination courtesy of the Grizzlies in the play-in game, began to actively recruit Kawhi via Twitter.
Rumors that Leonard may decide to move on from the Clippers by exercising his player option have been circulating since the Clips exited the playoffs in disappointing fashion last year in the semifinals, and should Los Angeles make an early exit again, expect the recruitment of Kawhi to go into hyperdrive.
Follow the Heavy on Clippers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Clipper Nation!
Warriors Fans Recruit Kawhi on Twitter
“The things we can control is basically defense, discipline and just being able to stay focused on the details of the game,” Leonard said about his team heading into the series against Dallas.
After Game 1, all of those things can be called into question. Clippers head coach Ty Lue called out his team’s defense down the stretch, and there were times when L.A. looked slow, frazzled and out of place when trying to defend Doncic. When asked whether he was going to have Kawhi cover Doncic in future games, Lue answered in the affirmative.
“He has to carry a lot of the load offensively, we have three or four guys that we can put on him and mix it up,” Lue said about Leonard after the Game 1 loss. “But I think you’ll get what you’re asking for come Tuesday.”
Whether Leonard guarding the Mavs superstar will make a difference remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Watching the Clippers lose to Doncic and company brought out the Golden State fans in droves, and they want Kawhi to join Steph Curry if the Clips continue to lose in the postseason. Here’s a small sampling courtesy of Twitter:
Another Playoff Dud From the Clippers Could Make Kawhi Think Twice
Sam Amick and John Hollinger of The Athletic reported in early April that while Leonard was extremely likely to re-sign with L.A., an ugly exit from the playoffs could be the one thing that changes his mind.
“Barring a dramatic turn of events in these coming months, it’s looking like this Leonard free agency will be decidedly less dramatic,” Anick and Hollinger wrote. “While this league has certainly taught us to expect the unexpected, the truth is that Leonard is still widely, well, expected to re-sign with the Clippers. As it stands, that’s the word from Clippers sources and rival executives alike.”
Then, they added this nugget: “Now, does that mean there’s no way he gets a wandering eye if the Clippers implode (again) in the playoffs? Of course not.”
While Clipper Nation is hoping for the opposite of an implosion, it’s clear many other fan bases are rooting for Kawhi to consider his options elsewhere if L.A. can’t escape its playoff curse.