Bruce Bowen loses Clippers TV gig after Kawhi Leonard criticism
By Rob Wolkenbrod
Bruce Bowen made critical comments of former San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. Now, he’s out of his gig as a television analyst for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bruce Bowen, a multi-time champion with the San Antonio Spurs, helmed a television analyst role for the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2017-18 season. However, the organization decided not to renew his deal for the 2018-19 campaign, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
What significance does this hold to the Spurs? Wojnarowski noted the Clippers were expected to bring Bowen back, but once he made critical comments on Kawhi Leonard. This happened nearly one month before the deal that sent Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick.
The decision to part ways with Bowen — a three-time NBA champion with the Spurs who had his No. 12 jersey retired — speaks to the high-stakes repercussions surrounding the NBA’s star-studded 2019 free-agency class. For the Clippers, eliminating Bowen becomes a clear message about how it plans to protect star players within the organization.
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Where Bowen goes next remains to be seen. He previously spent time as an NBA analyst for ESPN and could use that experience to find an opportunity elsewhere.
As for Leonard, this speaks to the direction the Clippers may take in the 2019 offseason — just under 11 months away — to target Leonard, one of the prized free agents of the next class. His contract runs through the 2018-19 season, and though a player option remains for the 2019-20 season, he can opt out and seek a five-year deal with the Raptors or a four-year pact with another team next summer.
It’s obviously no guarantee Leonard goes to the West Coast, but original reports circulated around his interest in the Clippers or Lakers before the trade. Even if it becomes the latter Los Angeles team, the Clippers have started to focus their efforts on the Southern California-born star before the preseason, training camp and any part of the prep for 2018-19.
The 2019 offseason already looks set to provide fanfare around its free-agency class. Will Leonard become a Clipper? What else will this organization do to lure him there?