When Kawhi Leonard requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs last offseason, it was widely reported that his preferred destination was in LA with either the Lakers or Clippers. He ended up getting traded to the Toronto Raptors and brought Canada its first NBA championship.
It always seemed like this year in Toronto was just a stopgap year before he hit free agency and left for LA, even after he took home the Finals MVP award. He's a California kid, and it seemed like nothing, not even an absurd amount of money, would ever stop him from getting back to his hometown.
Here's how much money Kawhi Leonard left on the table by signing with the Clippers. https://t.co/DTASj88nPb— The Spun (@TheSpun) July 6, 2019
Leonard passed up the opportunity to earn a $221 million extension from San Antonio when he requested a trade from them last offseason. And although he didn't end up where he ultimately wanted to go, Toronto gave it their best shot at retaining Kawhi by offering him about $50 million more than the Clippers did.
Kawhi proved that money was never what he was after, as he signed a four-year $141 million deal to join the Clippers, rather than electing to stay in Toronto where he would've earned approximately $190 million.
Sources: As expected, Kawhi Leonard: four-year, $142M maximum contract.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
While that may seem like an absurd amount of money to leave on the table, we can't truly relate to this kind of money. It seems like a lot to us, but what's an extra $50 million to someone like Kawhi, who's already a bonified superstar and millionaire?
Kawhi always wanted to play for his hometown team whether it be the Lakers or Clippers, and it appears no amount of money was going to deter him from reaching that goal.