Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard have both declined the player options on their contracts and will enter free agency.
According to ESPN, Paul and the Phoenix Suns will be targeting a new deal once NBA free agency opens on Monday (Aug 2) at 6 p.m. ET. This past season, Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists while becoming a spark that took the Suns from outside the playoffs to two wins short of the NBA championship.
“I think for me, I just look at myself and figure out how can I get better, what I could have done more, and make sure I come back next season ready to do it again,” Paul said at the end of the season.
The situation is a bit different for Kawhi Leonard, he opts out while he is recording from surgery of a partially torn right ACL. Leonard is still expected to be a Clipper and can sign a four-year, 176.2 million dollar deal or take a one-and-one deal that would make him a free agent again in 2022, leading to a five-year, $235 million offer the following season.
“We hope to have a very long-term relationship with him,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said last week. “Right now our focus, like Kawhi, is on his health. He had major surgery. He tore his ACL. That’s going to require a great deal of time and we want to support him in that.”
Speaking with reporters in December, Leonard stated if he was healthy the best option would be to decline the option with the aim for a bigger and lengthier deal.
In the meantime, Kawhi Leonard is taking care of work off the court, sharing a new song, “Waves,” featuring Gunna and Polo G. The single will be a part of his upcoming Culture Jam project, which is in partnership with the industry powerhouse Eesean Bolden. The first-of-its-kind project celebrates the union of hip-hop, basketball, and community. The full release is set for later this year on Virgin Music Label.