Sacrificing Kawhi Leonard’s Olympics Spot to Protect Investment of $152 Million by Clippers is the Right Move, Says Paul Pierce

Kawhi Leonard was all set to compete in the Olympics. But his past injuries continue to ruin his present decisions. In a whirlwind, the 2x champ is out of Team USA, and Derrick White has taken his spot. The decision is reportedly made considering his recent contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers and the upcoming season. Amidst all the disappointment and speculations, Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce believes that it was the right decision. Here is why.

Expressing concern about Leonard’s injuries, Pierce stated that any further serious damage could once again put his $152-million deal with the Clippers in jeopardy. He signed this three-year deal with the Clippers in January this year.

Knowing Kawhi’s history of injuries, I like that move. You know, he didn’t finish out the Clippers season and I know he’s been ramping up. He wants to play, he probably has that itch but I think it’s best on both parts that you know he gets ready for the team that’s paying him that boatload of money,Paul Pierce said on Undisputed.

Now that George is out of the scene, the Clippers’ focus will once again be solely on Leonard. “If he has any setback in the Olympics and he’s unable to start the regular season for the Clippers it’s just going to be another one of those ‘here we go again’ right on schedule,” Pierce added. As he pointed out clearly, the team won’t be able to afford to have their star player sidelined in the playoffs again. The Clippers would have had a chance to contend for a championship with George if Leonard was healthy.

The Truth further pointed out how the 2x NBA champion couldn’t complete the regular season and missed the entire postseason only a couple of months ago. It won’t be a good look for the team paying him $152 million to see their star missing the postseason but playing for his country in the same summer. And considering Leonard’s history with injuries, it was probably the best decision for everyone involved.

Kawhi Leonard’s battle with injuries

Leonard’s misfortune with injuries began in 2017. This is when he missed 27 games due to a thigh injury. Although he returned in December, his injury continued to trouble him. In July 2018, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Fortunately, with the Raptors, he was able to remain healthy. He even led the team to its first NBA title and won his second Finals MVP award.

Kawhi Leonard
Apr 26, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) warms up before the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the LA Clippers during game three of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Following this success, Leonard joined the Clippers. George also joined the team which gave a new championship hope to the Clippers fans. But again tragedy struck. In 2021, Kawhi tore his ACL in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals, causing him to miss the entire 2021-2022 season.

Upon returning to the league in the 2022-23 season, he played 52 games but injured the same knee again. He played a total of 68 games during the 2023-24 season, the most since 2016. But that was until his knee injury sidelined him once more. He was able to play only the first two of the 6 games in the first round of NBA playoffs.

Rather than playing for the Olympics, he should get healthy and better to secure his place in the team as per the analyst. As Paul Pierce described, Leonard has a history of injuries. The news of the exit of the Los Angeles Clippers star was disappointing indeed but wasn’t surprising with many siding with the 2X NBA champ’s decision such as Pierce.

Stay tuned for more such updates, and to follow what Shaq’s ex-agent, Leonard Armato, has to say about the infamous Shaq-Kobe feud, Caitlin Clark’s Olympic snub, and more, watch this video.

The post Sacrificing Kawhi Leonard’s Olympics Spot to Protect Investment of $152 Million by Clippers is the Right Move, Says Paul Pierce appeared first on EssentiallySports.

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