Doc Rivers joked to Steve Ballmer that Clippers should move to Seattle if Lakers got Kawhi Leonard
The LA Clippers had a vital stretch early in their offseason in a quest to acquire Kawhi Leonard. Yet the wait, doubt and constant consternation of whether they would be able to net his services was a helter skelter of frantic confusion.
Head coach Doc Rivers was at the center of it all, now on July 5, still without a Leonard deal in hand. The longtime helmsman recalls the thought of Leonard possibly joining the Lakers and how he told owner Steve Ballmer he should relocate to Seattle if Leonard joined a superteam across the hall:
“The day of the trade at 12 noon the deal was off,” Rivers told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times. “I was at home in Malibu and Lawrence called me and told me, ‘It looks like he’s either going to Toronto or the Lakers.’ The Lakers part just threw me over. I told him that can’t happen. … I remember I kept telling him, ‘We cannot allow that to happen!’
“I actually told Steve jokingly that if that happens, we’re moving the team to Seattle. It was a joke, but I was actually serious about it. I really believed that.”
The swing of the pendulum would hit stiffly, a haymaker so heavy that it could run the Clippers out of town and into nothingness only months after making the playoff in such valiant fashion.
Instead it went from having a potential superteam of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard to matching the firepower and pinning Leonard and Paul George against the duo of James and Davis — one fans will get to enjoy in LA through the course of the regular season.