It’s only February, but the Los Angeles Clippers already are making huge plans for the summer.
With Thursday’s NBA trade deadline now come and gone, the Clippers, who traded Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, have turned their attention to this summer’s free agent class.
For much of the season it has been reported that LA covets Toronto Raptors star forward Kawhi Leonard and will offer him a max contract should he choose to leave Canada for his native Southern California, as has been his reported desire.
But Leonard apparently isn’t the only superstar player Jerry West and Co. hope to land this offseason.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported Wednesday, citing sources, that the Clippers’ offseason plan is to pair Leonard with Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant.
“There’s still an overwhelming sense around the league that Durant is destined to sign with the Knicks, but this was as clear a sign of any that the Clippers aren’t giving up on their grand plan of landing Durant and Kawhi Leonard this summer,” Amick writes.
Durant, who has won back-to-back NBA Finals MVPs, has been linked to the New York Knicks all season, and New York’s recent trade of Kristaps Porzingis appeared to pave the way for Durant and potentially another star to call Madison Square Garden home next season.
After the Harris trade, the Clippers will have $53.6 million in cap space this summer, which is enough to sign one max player and one player to a contract around $20 million per year. In order to open up the second max slot, the Clippers would need to find a way to trade Danilo Gallinari ($22.65 million for next season).
Both Leonard and Durant surely will have no shortage of suitors this summer, but the Clippers are doing their best to position themselves to land two of the NBA’s best players this summer.