The Clippers are making preparations to compete for Durant’s signature in the summer, despite rumours circulating he will be leaving the Golden State Warriors for the New York Knicks.
Durant is expected to exercise an option in his contract this summer which will allow him to become a free agent.
And the Clippers are making cap room to compete for his signature.
Their recent decision to trade of Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers, means they are now in a better position to make a move on both players, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Leonard, who is currently with the Toronto Raptors, will become a free agent in the summer and reportedly favours a move back to California.
“This is no state secret: It has been Durant and Leonard — and then everyone else — for quite some time now,” The Athletic report.
“The Clippers, as currently constructed, can create $53.19 million in cap space this summer.
“That’s enough for one max player and approximately $20 million for a second star this summer, with rival teams continuing to believe that Leonard is likely to sign with the Clippers if he winds up leaving Toronto.”
Over the course of the season the Clippers have visibly sent scouts to number Warriors and Raptors games to monitor both Durant and Leonard.
The Warriors aren’t in control regarding Durant’s future and throwing money at the situation might not be enough to retain his services in the Bay Area.
There are reports the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP wants to move out of the shadow of Steph Curry and be the main superstar of a organisation himself, something the Clippers can offer him.
If the Clippers do make a move for Durant they can expect the Knicks, among others, to also challenge for his signature.
The Knicks had begun preparations for a big signing after they traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks to create cap space for a max salary contract in the summer.
Back in December ESPN’s Brian Windhorst indicated the Clipper owner Steve Ballmer has a plan to bring in both players.
“Ballmer’s vision is to land Leonard or Durant, or both, as long as they’re swinging for the fences,” Windhorst said.
Windhorst also considers their new arena in Inglewood “could turn the Clippers into one of the premier franchises in the league.”