Wednesday 19th June 2019

Kawhi Leonard Holdout Would Cost Him His Free Agency

Kawhi Leonard Holdout Would Cost Him His Free Agency

Kawhi Leonard got part of his wish in that he was traded out of San Antonio, but his camp has been making it abundantly clear that he only wants to play for the Lakers or Clippers. Therefore, it came as no surprise to see this tweet after he was traded to the Raptors:

To iterate on a line from The Wire, desire has nothing to do with it. Per the terms of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, Kawhi would not be a free agent in 2019 if he hold out. Article XI, Section 3 states (h/t r/NBA):

A player who withholds playing services called for by a Player Contract for more than thirty (30) days after the start of the last Season covered by his Player Contract shall be deemed not to have “complet[ed] his Player Contract by rendering the playing services called for thereunder.” Accordingly, such a player shall not be a Veteran Free Agent and shall not be entitled to negotiate or sign a Player Contract with any other professional basketball team unless and until the Team for which the player last played expressly agrees otherwise.

Where it gets a little murkier is if Kawhi has a different injury belief than the Raptors, as happened in San Antonio, where he was cleared to play for months but never returned. Nevertheless, despite his apparent lack of desire to be a Raptor, he can’t just refuse to report. At some point a lightbulb will click and he’ll realize that the best way to command top dollar from the Lakers or Clippers in 2019 is to head to Toronto and perform at the highest level.

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