Mavs, Heat Likely Top Suitors For Kawhi Leonard As Free Agent

The Heat and Mavericks are expected to strongly pursue Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard this offseason, should Leonard opt out of his contract and enter free agency, per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.Kawhi Leonard

Leonard has a $36 million player option on his deal and can enter unrestricted free agency should he so choose.

Per O’Connor, some opposing executives believe the Mavs may have the lead in a potential pursuit of Leonard, given the lure of star Luka Doncic and the “front office’s ability to create maximum cap space or work out a sign-and-trade.”

Meanwhile, with the respect for team president Pat Riley and the organization overall, the Heat are always considered a possible destination for bigger name free agents. Plus, as O’Connor noted, Leonard once attempted to convince Heat guard/forward Jimmy Butler to join him in LA.

That said, many seem to believe Leonard will merely exercise the option and remain with the Clippers. For one, as O’Connor wrote, Leonard recently purchased a $17.1 million LA home.

Leonard, 30, averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 52 regular season games. He increased his scoring average to 30.4 points in the playoffs, as the Clippers advanced to the Western Conference finals, but he missed the entire series vs. the Suns with a knee injury.

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