Report: Kawhi Leonard agrees to sign with the Clippers
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 6, 2019
Sources: As expected, Kawhi Leonard: four-year, $142M maximum contract.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
Leonard decided to walk away from the Toronto Raptors after just one season, and even though he had a meeting with them during free agency, it wasn’t enough to convince him to stay.
The Los Angeles Clippers have been in play for the last year, rumored as one of Kawhi’s preferred destinations. After meeting with the Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Raptors, the reigning NBA champion and Finals MVP was convinced that it would be best for him to go home, but not to the city’s most prominent franchise.
Leonard was determined to get a second star with him to the Clippers, and Jerry West managed to do so by trading for Paul George late Friday evening PST. To land George, Los Angeles gave the Oklahoma City Thunder four future unprotected first-round picks, two pick swaps, Danilo Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous Alexander.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard wasn’t going to join the Clippers without a second star coming in. Leonard in particular cited George as a player he’d like to run the court with, and it took a record deal to make it happen.
Now, the “Battle for Los Angeles” has a chance to become one of the best rivalries in the NBA. Leonard’s decision tiled the fortunes not just of the NBA’s most storied franchise, but the Western Conference as a whole. With the Golden State Warriors losing Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson for most of the season, a number of other teams were loading up for the 2019-20 season.
But now, Leonard and the Clippers may be the favorite to reach the NBA Finals come next June.