Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, Paul George entering camp ‘fully healthy’

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Playa Vista, California. — The LA Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard And Paul George According to the team’s president of basketball operations, Lawrence Frank, he is “totally healthy” entering next week’s training camp in Hawaii.

Leonard was sidelined the first two games of the Clippers’ first-round playoff loss to the Phoenix Suns with a torn right meniscus. He underwent a cleanup procedure on the meniscus on June 6. George is fully recovered from a sprained right knee that kept him out of the first round.

“Both are completely healthy,” Frank said Wednesday at the team facility. “I think both had very productive off-seasons, and obviously our two best players are fully invested in doing something special for the Clippers. They show that with their work, so I think we’re really excited that they’re both fully healthy and in full camp.” There will be participants.”

Frank also said there have been talks with two Clippers franchise players about contract extensions. Both stars, who grew up near Los Angeles and wanted to play here, each have $48 million in player options for the 2024-25 season and are each eligible to sign four-year extensions worth up to $223 million, according to ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks.

“We’re still trying to maximize Kawhi and PG’s window and take advantage of it,” Frank said. “We’ve had ongoing conversations with both of them [since they were extension-eligible] And their representatives, and in due course we are hopeful that they will be Clippers.”

Frank added: “Hopefully we’ve created an environment where not only do guys want to come, they want to stay. And we’ve got a pretty good track record of being able to keep guys. So it’s going to be a process and we just “be honest with each other. . But we’re hopeful that we can build around those guys and they’ll be Clippers.”

The Clippers are entering an important season where they have a lot to prove. The Leonard-George era is entering its fifth season, but the two stars haven’t been able to stay healthy together. The Clippers had their stars together in just 38 games last season due to injuries. When they are healthy, LA has been successful. In their four seasons so far, Leonard and George have combined for 142 regular-season games and the Clippers are 96-46. The Clippers advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 2021, but Leonard tore his ACL during the second round.

The Clippers highly valued head coach Ty Lue and optioned him, leaving him with two years left on his contract. But Louis didn’t get a new contract and Leonard and George still haven’t signed extensions. While Frank said “we all have something to prove,” he emphasized that the lack of new contracts for Leonard, George and Lue was not “a warning shot” entering the season.

“He has two years with T-Lou [on his deal]” Frank said. “We love T-Lu, we want T-Lu to be here as coach for a long time. He is one of the elite coaches in this league and there is always a time for such things.

“PG and Kawhi, we’ve had a very, very clear conversation in terms of our goals to keep them as Clippers. So it’s not a warning shot. But I think all of us, myself included, you feel a tremendous amount of responsibility and you’re “how each of us more. Take ownership of your piece of the pie for doing good.”

The Clippers have been linked to the Sixers about a possible trade James Harden This summer, however, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski in August. 12 that the Sixers have no interest in a realistic deal before ending trade talks. Harden’s choice is to join the Clippers.

Frank was asked to wait and see the possibility of the Clippers improving the team through trade.

“I’ll answer it this way — one, we like our group,” Frank said. “You’re always looking for ways to get better, both individually, as a team. … From our perspective, we will always be aggressive and try to find ways to improve the team.

“The timeline is the timeline. I like our group, our approach. But we’ll always find ways to get better.”

Much of the Clippers’ success this season will depend on their health. With both of his stars healthy at the start of camp, Frank said Leonard wants to play and will “attack everything” when healthy. Frank was asked how the NBA’s new player participation policy, which says teams must ensure multiple star players will be unavailable for the same game, will affect how the Clippers and Leonard approach back-to-back games.

The team was cautious as Leonard entered last season after missing the entire previous year with an ACL injury. But then he experienced stiffness in his surgically repaired knee, which cost him 12 games. He later suffered a sprained right ankle that cost him six more games early in the season.

“Kawhi missed 21 of the first 26 [games]”If Kawhi doesn’t get hurt, he’ll play 65, 68 games,” Frank said. [last season]. So it wasn’t a case of, ‘Hey, we’re just resting him — he’s coming off an ACL.’

Frank added: “So given the situation, let’s get through training camp and then we’ll sit down. [and figure Leonard’s plan for this season]. But Kawhi wants to play. When he’s healthy, he always plays and we just hope he’s lucky, he’s healthy and we’re hopeful he will be.”



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