Aug. 6 (UPI) — Los Angeles Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard and Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant both are expected to return to their respective teams for the 2021-22 NBA season.
League sources told ESPN, Yahoo Sports and the Los Angeles Times that Leonard, who previously declined his player option for $36 million this coming season to become an unrestricted free agent, has agreed to return to the Clippers. Terms of the contract are still being finalized.
Leonard’s decision to stay in Los Angeles, which was expected, comes on the same day that veteran guard Reggie Jackson agreed to re-sign with the Clippers on a two-year, $22 million pact. The team also reached an agreement with forward Justise Winslow on a two-year deal.
The 30-year-old Leonard, a two-time Finals MVP, currently is recovering from a procedure he underwent July 13 to repair a partially torn right ACL. The injury forced him to miss the Clippers’ final eight playoff games this past season.
Leonard is expected to miss a significant period of time due to the knee injury.
The five-time All-Star selection averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists over 52 games last season.
Durant, meanwhile, plans to sign a four-year, $198 million maximum contract extension with the Nets shortly after he becomes eligible Saturday.
The 11-time All-Star and his longtime manager, Rich Kleiman, confirmed the agreement Friday on Boardroom. As part of the extension, Durant will decline his existing 2022-23 player option and extend off of his $42 million base salary for the upcoming 2021-22 campaign.
Durant played in just 35 regular-season games for the Nets last season because of COVID-19 issues and a lingering hamstring injury. Despite those problems, he averaged 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists.
The 32-year-old Durant then averaged 34.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists over 12 postseason games for Brooklyn. The Nets lost to the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in seven games during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Along with Durant, Nets star guards Kyrie Irving and James Harden also will be eligible to sign contract extensions with Brooklyn this off-season.