Stephen A. Smith recently stated that he would see 2x NBA champion Kawhi Leonard take his talents to the Miami Heat over the Lakers.
The former 2x DPOY has been out since Game five of the western conference semi-finals due to a right sprained knee. Though, the Clippers somehow still managed to pull through the semi-finals due to exceptional performances by Paul George and Terance Mann.
The Clippers made their first-ever conference finals appearance in franchise history this year. The head coach Ty Lue has been one of the major factors, the Clippers have been able to hold ground despite the absence of their superstar Kawhi.
The LA team is currently trailing 3-2 against the Phoenix Suns. The Clippers have managed to survive despite injuries to its several stars, such as Serge Ibaka and Ivica Zubac, along with Kawhi.
Kawhi was nothing short of phenomenal in the 2021 NBA Playoffs before he injured his knee. The 2x NBA Finals MVP averaged 30.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 2.2 SPG on an incredible 57.3% shooting from the field and 39.3% from beyond the arc.
Is Kawhi Leonard’s move to sign with the Miami Heat feasible?
The 5x NBA All-Star was LA Clippers’ biggest signing in franchise history. The Clippers and Kawhi reached an agreement on a 3-year $103 million deal. That included a player option as well.
However, Kawhi’s and the Clippers’ partnership did not succeed as per expectations. The Clippers had an embarrassing semi-finals exit in the 2020 Orlando Bubble despite being up 3-1. This was followed by a lack of leadership in the Clippers locker room.
As per reports, Kawhi, despite being the best player on the team, didn’t come across as a leader, who could galvanize his troops.
Though the Clippers created franchise history this post-season with their first-ever conference finals appearance, Kawhi’s injury has been a big factor for the team that would otherwise be a top contender for the 2021 NBA championship.
Though there have always been rumors of Kawhi signing with the LA Lakers. In a recent, segment on ESPN’s Sportscenter, Stephen A. Smith suggested why the 2x Finals MVP may land in the south beach over the LA Lakers.
Stephen A. Smith sees Kawhi Leonard going to the Miami Heat over the Los Angeles Lakers: https://t.co/H3NGEL3Lop
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) June 29, 2021
“I would see him going someplace like Miami before I saw that happening, Obviously, he would want his money, and I don’t know how much money the Lakers have to give him. That’s number one.
But again, when you look at Kawhi Leonard, there’s no questioning his greatness, there’s no questioning his talent, and if you’re going for a championship, he’s your guy. But if you’re talking about building long-term and building a culture, I don’t know if he’s proven to be that guy because of his durability issues. It’s just that simple to me.”
Also read: “Paul George is now on the same category of superstar as Kawhi Leonard”: Kendrick Perkins gives some huge appreciation to the Los Angeles Clippers star amidst his brilliant playoffs performance
The Miami Heat might just be the perfect fit for the Klaw as he shares a great relationship with Heat star Jimmy Butler. The team is known to have one of the best cultures in the NBA. The Heat roster consists of some promising young talents with the likes of Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson.
However, time will only tell if Kawhi would exercise his player option or continue with the LA Clippers.