Clippers and Luke Kennard agree to four-year contract extension

Luke Kennard dribbles the ball during a preseason game.
Clippers guard Luke Kennard has agreed to a contract extension that includes $56 million guaranteed and $8 million in bonuses.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

The Clippers and guard Luke Kennard have agreed to a four-year contract extension worth up to $64 million, according to a person with knowledge of the deal not authorized to speak publicly.

The deal includes $56 million guaranteed, along with $8 million in bonuses, and was reached before Monday’s deadline for extensions to be signed, which comes one day before the team’s season opener against the Lakers. It will keep Kennard, 24, from becoming a restricted free agent next summer.

The 12th overall selection in the 2017 NBA draft, Kennard is entering his first season with the Clippers after being traded by Detroit in November. He is expected to play a reserve role as he regains his rhythm following an abbreviated final season with the Pistons, when he played only 28 games before being shut down to recover from bilateral knee tendinitis.


Kennard averaged 15.8 points in nearly 33 minutes per game last season. The Clippers traded for him in the hope that he could bolster the team’s play-making because of his passing, as well as his 40% career three-point shooting.

Tuesday’s opener against the Lakers comes one year and one day after his last regular-season NBA game, and Kennard said Monday that getting back into game shape, and adjusting to the speed of five-on-five competition after months of largely solo workouts, had been his biggest challenge.

“It’s been a while since I’ve played,” Kennard said. “I’m pretty hard on myself, honestly, and I want to be perfect every time, but in the real world that’s not necessarily the case. But, yeah, I’ve been getting better each and every day and just kind of getting that rhythm back.

“I wish coming back it was where I was, but it takes a little time.”

From the expected load management to the unknown of a pandemic-stricken season with no bubble protection, the 2020-21 NBA season will offer unique challenges.

Dec. 21, 2020