Russell Westbrook received a record contract extension on Friday. How will this impact future negotiations between the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard?
Superstar point guard Russell Westbrook signed a five-year, $205M contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This extension is until 2022-23 and equals out to a six-year, $233M deal.
It seems like these superstar players are signing larger contracts every year. Earlier this year James Harden inked a $228M extension with the Houston Rockets. Being a franchise player in the NBA sure has its perks.
Because players are signing these massive contracts, what is going to happen when Kawhi Leonard is due to re-sign? Since 2014, Leonard has taken over the role as the face of the Spurs. Since then, the 26-year-old has proven that he has what it takes to lead this team.
But, Leonard’s contract isn’t up until 2020, as he has a player option for the 2019-20 season. What is going to be offered to him when it is time to negotiate a new deal?
Leonard has shown a drastic spike in his numbers over the past years. The Klaw has doubled his points per game and has continued to improve his defense since signing his last extension. It is only right that he gets one of these mega contracts right? Right?
This may not be the case. The Spurs are entering a strange time in their franchise. Tim Duncan retired in 2016 with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili soon to follow. They are starting to sign more younger players in hopes of finding a new face to help lead the team. For the first time in years, it looks like the Spurs are entering a minor rebuild process.
Because of this, should the Spurs be willing to throw an absurd amount of money Leonard’s way? It all depends on what direction the team plans on going.
The Spurs have always had luck with finding undiscovered talent and molding them into star players. Ginobili, Parker, and Leonard are a few examples of that. If this is the route they want to continue taking, then why not give Leonard a mega contract?
LaMarcus Aldrige is due for a new contract after this season. In his short time as a Spur, he has proven to be crucial to the team’s success. But, he will not be making as much money as he did when he first signed. Could this push him away from the team? Possibly. Is it worth it to save money for Leonard? Yes.
If the Spurs take a different approach to their future, then maybe they should hold off on giving Leonard all of this money. After this season the Spurs are looking at having quite a bit of extra cash to bring in some players.
This money could be used to bring in some major free agents next season. Players like LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins, and Gary Harris are all players the Spurs could go after. But, this isn’t going to be cheap.
Leonard has made it clear that he has one goal every season. And that is to win another NBA Championship. Could Leonard take a smaller contract in the next few years to ensure that the Spurs have more money to sign players? It all depends on what path the Spurs choose to take.
Nonetheless, Leonard is going to get paid. But, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t follow the trend and take a mega contract. Only time will tell.