Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard Reportedly Interested in Teaming Up With Jimmy Butler on Miami Heat

Published 04/06/2021, 1:14 AM EDT
Mar 24, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts after scoring a basket against the San Antonio Spurs the first quarter at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports


After Paul George and Kawhi Leonard joined forces in LA last season, the playoffs didn’t go as expected. They had an embarrassing exit, and there were rumors of a potential split.

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The 2020-21 season isn’t going the way they wanted either, so this could spell trouble for the Clippers. According to NBA reporter Evan Massey, Leonard could be eyeing a move from the West Coast to the East Coast. Massey believes Leonard is keen on teaming up with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo at the Miami Heat.

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This comes as a surprise, but only the destination is the surprising part. There were always rumors that Leonard was likely to leave in 2021 if the Clippers failed to win a title. And now, this rumor is gaining traction since the team-up with PG isn’t going as expected. Despite their occasional brilliant games, there has been little to celebrate on the whole.

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How can the Miami Heat afford to bring in Kawhi Leonard?

There were rumors that the Heat would bring in Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2021 Free Agency. It looked likely as well, but Giannis showed that he was loyal to the Bucks after signing a supermax extension. That was a setback to the Heat’s future plans. But if Kawhi is keen on a move, then the Heat will be ecstatic.

Mar 29, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) celebrates with guard Goran Dragic (7) and guard Tyler Herro (14) after scoring a basket against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mike Stobe/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat will have to bid goodbye to Victor Oladipo in the off-season if they are planning to bring in Kawhi. They currently have five players on guaranteed deals for the next season: Butler, Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Precious Achiuwa, and KZ Okpala. They will have to reject the team options for Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala to free cap. Finally, they will have to target multiple veterans on cheap deals to fill out the team.

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If they manage to do that, the Heat will have two of the best defensive players in the league on the same team. Add another All-Star in Adebayo to the mix, and they could be a serious contender. That will be a team the Nets and the Bucks will have to worry about.

Mar 15, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket as Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) defends during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

So if Leonard is really interested, the Clippers need to watch out. They will have to pull off a spectacular run this season and win to keep hold of their two-time Finals MVP. Otherwise, they will lose their best player and George will probably follow suit.

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Aaron Mathew

1550 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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