ESPN Analyst Thinks Clippers' Kawhi Leonard Load Management Is 'Ridiculous'

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is planning to sit out Wednesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks due to load management and one ESPN analyst is not happy with the decision.

While appearing on Golic and Wingo, an ESPN radio show, ESPN analyst Doris Burke said she thinks Kawhi's load management rest is "ridiculous."

"It is mindboggling to me that Kawhi doesn't want to play against the reigning MVP [Giannis Antetokounmpo] and he would rather play against the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow night on TNT," Burke said.

Leonard has been a strong advocate of resting due to load management, or reducing training or the number of games an athlete plays in to allow for better long-term performance. In 2018, as a member of the Toronto Raptors, Leonard sat out 22 of 82 games and still went on to lead the team to an NBA championship.

The NBA can fine teams up to $100,000 for sitting healthy players during nationally televised games. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Clippers were able to clear Leonard's absence with the league and avoid the fine by relating it to an "injury/illness" and not rest.

The Clippers were also able to avoid a fine from the NBA for Leonard's previous load management rest on October 30, which was also a nationally televised game against the Utah Jazz.

Burke went on to talk about how she believes that the NBA "is and should be concerned that their best players are not playing on nights when they're on national television."

"People tune in because they want to see the stars that are so compelling," Burke added.

Following Leonard's prior load management absence, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was asked how he would respond to fans who missed their chance to see the forward play in person.

"All I can say, if you're a Clipper fan, that's easy to explain," Rivers said. "That's who we should be concerned with more, to be honest. Having said that, you should care about all of the fans because they pay. Hopefully, we have enough on the floor that we'll show them a good game. Now if you're a Kawhi fan and you're from Utah, then that's just a tough one."

Following Burke's comments, many fans took to social media to express their views on stars sitting on for high-profile games.

"This is silly," said Twitter user Robert Littal. "What's more important? Kawhi taking his PTO at the beginning of the year or having a healthy Kawhi for his team in the playoffs. Does anyone remember or care about the games Kawhi missed with the Raptors? No, because he played when it actually mattered. Relax."

"While I'd like to see Kawhi play tonight, I'd be handling his situation exactly how he and the Clippers are. After last year, this is obviously the best way to win a championship. Blame the league for having too many games, not him and the Clippers," tweeted Dunc'd On Basketball podcast host Nate Duncan.

Some other fans agreed with Burke and expressed their distaste for Leonard's absence on Wednesday night.

"It's a joke," said Twitter user James Wolfe. "If I had a ticket and Kawhi didn't play due to 'rest' I'd want my money back."

Leonard is set to make his return on Thursday night when the Clippers face the Portland Trail Blazers.

Kawhi Leonard
Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard set to miss Wednesday night's game due to load management Ezra Shaw/Getty