Kawhi Leonard‘s reported three-year deal — the final year as a player option– with the Clippers is a shorter pact than many expected. As a result, the 2021 free agency class may look more appealing.

Los Angeles had to make moves to make the Leonard deal happen, giving up a lot to ensure they could get Paul George as well, who was a make-or-break piece of the puzzle Kawhi. After locking down both PG and the defending NBA Finals MVP, it was expected that Clippers would try to keep Leonard around for longer. 

“Everybody thought the four year deal was in play, we’ve seen guys like KD and Kyrie go that route,” Tommy Tran said on Thursday’s ‘Kanell & Bell,’before asking Raja Bell if he thought this changes how people will look at the Clippers’ moves. 

“The new norm for NBA players seems to be flexibility,” Bell said on the deal, adding, “it takes nothing away from what the Clippers did because they didn’t lock him up for four years.”

NBA players in this era like to strike while the iron is hot. While the NBA of yesteryear saw players committing to long-term contracts, stars now want to sample teams and test out the waters before signing the papers to stay long term. 

Bell looks ahead to the future and what free agency could look like when this Leonard deal is up.

“That 2021 potential free agent class could be really, really scary, so you could essentially reshuffle the deck if you were a Kawhi and a Paul George if it didn’t for some reason work out with the clippers… you could be sitting there in 2021 with the flexibility to do something else,” he said.

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