After Paul George signed his extension, Lawrence Frank said the team was moving into a new phase of team building, one that would allow them “to be in a position to be able to make long-term commitments to players we felt could help us build a sustainable championship contending franchise.”
The Clippers have done that today by extending newly-acquired Luke Kennard. Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Kennard will be a Clipper for four more years after this one for a total contract value of $64 million.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Luke Kennard has agreed to a four-year, $64 million contract extension, his agents Aaron Mintz and Dave Spahn of @caa_sports tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 21, 2020
The reporting also indicates that Kennard’s is guaranteed for $56 million, with the additional $8 million in reachable incentives. Today was the last day that fourth-year players could agree to rookie extensions.
This is nearly the exact same contract that the Spurs gave Dejounte Murray last summer, though he only has $6 million in incentives. The Murray contract was a particularly useful comparison because Murray missed his entire third season with an ACL tear. Kennard also had knee injuries that limited him to 28 games last season, the last of which took place almost exactly 12 months ago.
Kennard is just the second player in the class of 2017 to get a non-max extension. The other was Kyle Kuzma with the Los Angeles Lakers, who earned 3 years for $40 million, so the Clippers have judged Kennard’s value to be meaningfully greater. This also seems like an indication that the Clippers are comfortable with Kennard’s health after his struggles to stay on the court earlier in his career.
The Clippers were not likely to cap space moving forward because of Paul George’s extension, so it makes sense to hold on to young players who can grow with this team. The money is a bit higher than would have been expected considering Kennard’s production to this point, but the Clippers seem to be confident that Kennard can be more effective in a winning environment alongside stars who will demand greater attention.
Congrats to Luke! Hopefully, he has a successful career in Los Angeles for years to come.