Bruce Bowen won’t be back as a Los Angeles Clippers television game analyst next season after recently making critical comments about potential 2019 free agent Kawhi Leonard, ESPN reported yesterday.
Bowen’s contract was with Fox Sports West, but the Clippers — like all sports organizations — have a high level of input over who is part of the television crew.
Bowen strongly ripped Leonard in a June radio interview for the way the forward handled his situation with the San Antonio Spurs last season.
The Clippers hope to make a run at luring Leonard to the organization next summer should Leonard become a free agent. Leonard is from Riverside, about an hour east of Los Angeles.
Leonard was recently traded to the Toronto Raptors after his falling out with the Spurs after seven seasons. He played in only nine games for San Antonio last season due to a quadriceps injury and his quiet nature fueled heavy speculations over his motives.
Bowen, a former member of the Spurs, didn’t hold back with his thoughts during an interview on Sirius XM Radio on June 21.
“I think there’s nothing but excuses going on,” Bowen told 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).”
Bowen was part of three NBA title teams with the Spurs and his No. 12 is retired by the franchise. He played the final eight seasons of his 13-year NBA career with San Antonio.