Bruce Bowen will not return to the Clippers’ local television broadcasts, people not authorized to speak publicly about the matter confirmed Monday.
Bowen, who was hired last summer to be an analyst alongside Ralph Lawler, wasn’t brought back after he made critical comments about Kawhi Leonard, the people said. Leonard could be an unrestricted free agent after next season and is a player believed to be high on the Clippers’ wish list.
Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket hired Bowen to replace longtime Clippers analyst Michael Smith. The decision to not bring Bowen back was made at the behest of the Clippers. The regional sports network did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
The decision was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Leonard, who was traded last month to the Toronto Raptors from the San Antonio Spurs, spent most of last offseason dealing with a calf injury that forced him to sit out all but nine games. Leonard’s extended absence was controversial around the league, with little understanding as to his status, and caused his relationship with the Spurs to deteriorate.
“I think there's nothing but excuses going on," Bowen said on SiriusXM NBA Radio in late June. "First, it was, 'Well I was misdiagnosed.' Look here: You got $18 million this year, and you think that they're trying to rush you? You didn't play for the most part a full season this year. And you're the go-to guy, you're the franchise, and you want to say that they didn't have your best interest at heart?
“Are you kidding me?"
Bowen, who played at Cal State Fullerton, spent the bulk of his NBA career with the Spurs, who retired his jersey number.