There has been loose chatter — mostly from unreliable sources — that Kawhi Leonard could opt out of the final year of his contract and head to South Beach. It could simply be a matter of whether the Los Angeles Clippers get to the NBA Finals or not.
The Miami Heat have been repeatedly linked to chasing a “giant whale” in the offseason. They have the cap space to add another huge piece, plus Jimmy Butler’s window for a championship is closing. The Victor Oladipo experiment didn’t go well and the oft-injured guard isn’t expected to return.
One theory floating out there is that Lenoard could see an easier path to a championship in the Eastern Conference, much like the route he took in 2019 with the Toronto Raptors. Leonard and Butler remain fast friends who previously talked of teaming up. Don’t get too excited about Lenoard coming to Miami, though.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski seemed to shoot down the notion on a recent episode of The Woj Pod, saying he believes Leonard will stay in Los Angeles barring an early playoff exit. Remember, the Clippers have a tough first-round matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. Here is what Wojnarowski shared on the situation:
I think Kawhi is staying with the Clippers. He hasn’t said that publicly, probably won’t until the day he signs his contract. I don’t sense — I know there’s been some mention of Miami maybe being a sleeper for him — I think he’s where he wants to be geographically. I think he’s gotten along very well in the organization, with management, with ownership.
I think [Clippers coach] Ty Lue has been really, really good this year for them. Ty can hit you without leaving a bruise. And can coach you hard, can hold guys’ accountable, and I think that’s an environment Kawhi likes, that’s been good for this team. But things can go sideways when all of a sudden you get knocked out earlier here than you expect [in the playoffs]. We all look at their series with Dallas and we say, they should be able to win that series.
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Kyle Lowry Didn’t Request Trade at Deadline
The Heat was heavily linked to acquiring Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline. The six-time All-Star guard was close to being dealt but the asking price was steep and ultimately the Toronto Raptors decided to keep him. Lowry addressed the situation on Tuesday while revealing it was a collaborative process between Raptors general manager Bobby Webster and president Masai Ujiri. Lowry never requested a trade, adding that he told the organization he would play the season out.
“I’m a man of my word. I’m not going to force anything,” Lowry told reporters. “And I trusted the decision-making of Bobby [Webster] and Masai [Ujiri]. They decided not to do it and there was a reason they decided not to do it. As a man, I respect that. I understand that and he was in open communication with me about it.”
Lowry’s future remains a huge question mark, though. He is an unrestricted free agent and rumors have him heading to Miami or Philadelphia next year. Or possibly returning to Toronto. The only thing he made clear was that he has no plans to retire.
Heat Coach Comments on Chris Bosh
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame officially announced that 16 honorees will be inducted into the 2021 class. Former Miami Heat star Chris Bosh is one of those legends being enshrined in Springfield, Mass. on Sept. 11. His former coach, Erik Spoelstra, talked about what he meant to the organization.
“Chris Bosh was the ultimate leader, teammate and winner,” said Spoelstra. “He was a huge part of our success and always did it with real class, selflessness and professionalism. His accomplishments on the court earned him this great honor, but he is also a Hall of Fame quality person. I am so happy for Chris, Adrienne and their family.”