Report: Bruce Bowen out as Clippers analyst after Kawhi Leonard criticism
Bruce Bowen was hired as a TV analyst for the Los Angeles Clippers roughly two years ago and was expected to sign an extension this offseason to remain in that role, but some critical comments he made about Kawhi Leonard led to a sudden change of plans.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Clippers have “withheld approval” on Fox Sports West signing Bowen to a contract extension. The decision was directly related to Bowen calling out Leonard back in June.
“I think there’s nothing but excuses going on,” Bowen said of Leonard during a June 22 appearance on Sirius XM Radio. “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?
“I think he’s getting bad advice. I think what you’re starting to see now is an individual given a certain amount of advice and it’s not the right advice. Here it is: You were protected in San Antonio. You were able to come up during a time where you still could lean on Tim (Duncan), Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili).”
The Clippers are one of the teams that plan to make a run at Leonard when he becomes a free agent next summer, and Wojnarowski reports that Leonard prefers to sign with either them or the L.A. Lakers. The Clippers apparently felt that having Bowen — a three-time NBA champion who had his No. 12 jersey retired with the San Antonio Spurs — call their games could be viewed negatively by Leonard.
We have seen other members of the media say worse things about Leonard than what Bowen said, but the Clippers clearly aren’t willing to take any chances.