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Kawhi Leonard spurned Russell Westbrook in favor of Paul George Clippers trade in 2019

Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, Clippers, Paul George

It was not that long ago when Kawhi Leonard put the basketball world on the edge by making everybody wait on his decision on where he would take his talents next after leading the Toronto Raptors to the promised land in 2019. Leonard, of course, would eventually take his talents to Hollywood to play for the Los Angeles Clippers with Paul George. But Leonard could have formed a different duo, though, with Russell Westbrook. Instead, Leonard elected to spurn Westbrook and use the latter’s interest to help the Clippers land George.

More from Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Westbrook had become a father of three the previous November, and while he’d made a home and carved a Hall of Fame legacy in Oklahoma City, the chance to live and play in Los Angeles, where grandparents and his large extended family and friends could visit every day, held deep appeal.

Teaming up with Leonard would be the fastest way there, so he placed the call, according to multiple sources. But Leonard didn’t just take the call as one native son of Los Angeles to another, ponder it and file it away.

He used it.

According to multiple sources, Leonard then called Westbrook’s teammate in Oklahoma City, Paul George, and told him he’d rather team up with him on a homecoming.

That’s cold. Really, that’s cold. Oftentimes, people look at Kawhi Leonard and they could hardly detect any emotions on his face, as though he was on an eternal quest to keep the cards he’s been dealt with a secret. In this case, Kawhi Leonard made Westbrook look like an amateur poker player going up against Daniel Negreanu. Imagine what could have been for the Clippers if it was Westbrook instead of George on the team with Leonard.

Although the Clippers were not able to fully capitalize on the superstar tandem of Leonard and George, nothing’s going to make that maneuver pulled by Leonard any less shrewd.

Leonard is off to somewhere else again, having declined his player option with the Clippers for the 2021-22 NBA season. Let’s see if another star comes calling for him again.