Clippers TV analyst Bruce Bowen let go due to critical comments towards Kawhi Leonard, a report says

It's been a busy summer for the LA Clippers. Longtime center DeAndre Jordan departed -- for real this time -- to the Dallas Mavericks. They traded Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Marcin Gortat, made a number of free agent signings, including Luc Mbah a Moute, Avery Bradley and Mike Scott, plus had two lottery picks. 

Now they'll also have to find a new TV analyst. Bruce Bowen, the longtime member of the San Antonio Spurs as a player, will not be brought back in his role with the Clippers' broadcast for Fox Sports West. According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, the decision was made because of Bowen's critical comments about Kawhi Leonard. Via ESPN:

In the aftermath of critical comments about 2019 free agent target Kawhi Leonard, Bruce Bowen won't be renewed as the LA Clippers television game analyst next season, sources told ESPN.

Bowen was under contract with Fox Sports West, but the Clippers -- like every organization -- have significant input into the hiring of television broadcast talents and withheld approval on extending his contract, sources said.

The sides were expected to move forward on a new deal before Bowen's public comments on Leonard, sources said. Bowen declined comment when reached on Monday.

Back in June, before Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors, Bowen criticized the two-time Defensive Player of the Year for how he handled himself last season. In addition to other comments, Bowen said, "I think there's nothing but excuses going on," during a radio appearance. 

As part of his job as an analyst, Bowen makes hundreds of comments about players all year long. At times, some of them are understandably critical. Though as long as they aren't out of line or disrespectful, there's nothing wrong with that. You may have disagreed with Bowen's comments about Leonard, but they were certainly nothing that should get someone fired -- especially considering the player isn't even on the Clippers. 

Which leads to the question, well then why did they let Bowen go? Of course this is speculation, but it's not hard to put some pieces together and see this as an attempt by the Clippers to position themselves to chase Leonard in free agency next summer. The star has made no secret about his desire to one day play in Los Angeles, and while the Lakers are still seen as the favorite to land Leonard, the Clippers are in the mix as well. 

Does cutting ties with Bowen actually give them a better chance at landing Leonard in 2019? Who knows? It's not like Leonard will ever make any public comments about it. But it certainly seems that in firing Bowen, the Clippers are trying to tie up any loose ends and do everything possible to put themselves in the best situation to add Leonard. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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