Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard suffered an ACL injury to his right knee in Game 4 of the team’s second-round series against the Utah Jazz. Not only did the injury abruptly end his season, it also reportedly led to some bad blood between him and the organization.
After the initial hubbub regarding his injury and how he handled it, Leonard went on to have surgery. His return date is unclear – but he is expected to miss a decent amount (if not the entirety) of the 2021-22 NBA season.
Clearly the Clippers have championship aspirations, but realistically it’s hard to imagine them making any serious moves in that regard without their best player.
This week, team owner Steve Ballmer gave a fairly cryptic response when pressed on whether Leonard may return this year.
“Nobody knows at this stage,” Ballmer told Mark Medina of USA Today Sports. “Nobody knows. It’s possible. For sure, it’s possible. But it will depend on what the doctors say and what Kawhi says.”
Quite the non-answer there.
The Clippers are viewed as one of three serious suitors to finagle a trade for Houston Rockets guard John Wall. Should that materialize, he and Paul George will likely be enough to get LA past the first round of the playoffs.
Dak Prescott stays winning. https://t.co/WN2voiN8k7
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 11, 2021
That said – it’s difficult to envision a scenario where the team advances past that.
For better or worse, the Clippers will only go as far as Leonard will take them. And if he’s not around to carry them next year, they likely won’t be going too far.