Kawhi Leonard is a key part of the Los Angeles Clippers' plan to compete. But you wouldn't know it if you lived outside of Southern California, as the Clippers have opted to sit their superstar for nationally televised games in back-to-back weeks.
As Adrian Wojnarowski points out, it's unlikely that Leonard will play in back-to-back regular season games this season.
This was too much for analyst Doris Burke, who tore into Leonard on an episode of ESPN's Get Up. Burke says the league has a "long-term problem" if stars continue to pick and choose when they sit.
The NBA instituted a rule this season that would fine teams for sitting their stars during nationally televised games. However, Leonard is considered injured and therefore will not run afoul of the league's mandate.
"Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league's resting policy, and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers injury report," NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN. "The league office, in consultation with the NBA's director of sports medicine, is comfortable with team medical staff's determination that Leonard is not sufficiently heathy to play in back-to-back games at this time."
While Burke might be heated about Leonard choosing to sit, the overwhelming majority of the sports media chattering class supported his decision. They note that Leonard has dealt with lingering injuries in his legs for a significant portion of his career and that a similar strategy last season allowed Leonard to be healthy for the playoffs, which his Toronto Raptors walked away from with a title.
Leonard himself attributed his playoff success to the Raptors allowing him to sit out on occasion.
At the end of the day, Leonard is sitting and the league sees nothing wrong with, at least for now.