It wasn’t that long ago that former NBA star Bruce Bowen was fired the color commentator for the L.A. Clippers because he dared to badmouth Kawhi Leonard. You see, the Clippers have big expectations of securing Leonard when he becomes a free agent next summer, so Bowen’s comments were seen as a potential stumbling block.
However, Bowen hasn’t been deterred by unemployment. The former San Antonio Spur, who won three NBA titles with the team before retiring in 2009, appeared on The Dan Patrick Show earlier this week and doubled down on his criticism of Leonard, who was shockingly traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan this summer.
Bowen was asked if he would build a team around Leonard, and his response wasn’t very flattering:
“No, I would not,” Bowen said on The Dan Patrick Show. “And I say that from what has transpired now. Now, if you asked me that two years ago, I’d say ‘absolutely.’ He had it very good as far as having Tim (Duncan), Tony (Parker), and Manu (Ginobili) to kind of learn from. But only because of the actions I’ve seen here of late would it create doubt for me to build around Kawhi.”
Bowen previously expressed doubt that Leonard was doing everything he could to return from injury, especially when it seemed like the team doctors had cleared him to play but he maintained that he wasn’t healthy enough. It’s common knowledge that Leonard would like to return to his home state of California to play basketball at some point, but the odds-on-favor to land his services are the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe the Clippers think they can swoop in and entice to Leonard to join them instead, now that the Purple and Gold have LeBron James.
“Kawhi never said he wanted to play for the Clippers. Kawhi said he wanted to play for the Lakers,” Bowen told Patrick. “And unfortunately, if you’re going to run your organization based on hopes, maybe, and getting rid of others – now, if I tore him down and I was disrespectful to him, that’s one thing. But that’s not the case. As an analyst, I’m supposed to talk about what I see and what I feel for this game that I love. If you can’t do that, what does that say about your organization?”
Bowen wasn’t letting the Clippers off the hook either, as he landed a parting shot at his former employer.
“I think if you can’t get free agents in California, in Los Angeles that is, that has nothing to do with Bruce Bowen,” he snidely remarked. “That has more to do with the organization.”