Kawhi Leonard will remain with the LA Clippers long term after re-signing with the team Thursday on a four-year, $176.3 million max contract.

The deal includes a player option in the fourth year.

Leonard had previously declined his player option for $36 million the upcoming season to become a free agent. He told the team last Friday that he was returning to the Clippers, who finalized the deal nearly a week later.

Leonard, 30, is expected to miss significant time next season as he makes his way back from surgery on July 13 to repair a partially torn right ACL that kept him out of the Clippers’ final eight playoff games.

Leonard could have signed a four-year, $187 million extension had he opted into the $36 million he was set to earn in the 2021-22 season. But he opted for free agency.

As a free agent, Leonard chose a longer-term deal instead of potentially signing a two-year, $82 million deal with a player option in 2022-23 and becoming a free agent again in 2022, which would have made him eligible to sign a five-year, $235 million max contract with the Clippers, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Despite his injury, Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, has remained connected with the Clippers, joining other veterans such as Paul George and Reggie Jackson in attendance at the Clippers’ first two games this week at NBA summer league in Las Vegas.