During the 2020 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers agreed to a three-team trade in which they sent Landry Shamet to the Brooklyn Nets, and received Luke Kennard from the Detroit Pistons. If giving up a key role player like Shamet wasn’t a clear indication of how much the Clippers like Kennard, then their decision on Monday certainly was. The Clippers and Kennard agreed to a four-year, $64 million extension, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
A former lottery pick, Kennard has become something of a forgotten man over the past few seasons, due to a combination of playing for a bad Pistons team and often being hurt. He’s managed just 88 games in the last two seasons combined, with ongoing knee issues the main culprit. In handing him $64 million before he’s played a meaningful game for the team, the Clippers must be confident those issues are behind him.
If so, this will end up being a good bit of business for the Clippers. Because when he can get on the court, Kennard can play, and will be a perfect fit alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. A career 40.2 percent 3-point shooter, Kennard is a real spot-up threat, but he’s more than capable of playing with the ball in his hands as well.
While not a true point guard by any means, he’s another playmaker, which the Clippers really needed — someone who can get his own shot, but also create for others. Before going down with injury last season, he was averaging a career-high 4.1 assists per game.