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Clippers release statement on allegations of illegal activity in Kawhi Leonard recruitment

Kawhi Leonard, Jerry West, Clippers

Earlier this week, TMZ Sports reported that the Los Angeles Clippers and NBA legend Jerry West, who is currently serving as a front office consultant for the Western Conference franchise, are being investigated by the league regarding potentially illegal activity surrounding the acquisition of former San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors swingman Kawhi Leonard.

As a result of such allegations, the Clippers have since released a formal statement and appear to be working alongside the NBA as an ongoing investigation continues to unfold behind the scenes.

“The lawsuit filed by Johnny Wilkes is replete with inaccuracies and the allegations are baseless,” reads the team’s official statement from Thursday evening, via Marc Stein of The New York Times. “The Clippers are fully cooperating with the NBA in its investigation, which is standard when these types of allegations are made. [The Clippers] are providing the NBA with evidence that the allegations are false.”

After spending the majority of his prolific NBA playing career as a member of the aforementioned Spurs, Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors a few seasons back as the All-Star swingman notably led the Eastern Conference franchise to a title in his only season north of the border. Last offseason, Leonard become an unrestricted free agent and elected to leave Toronto in favor of the Clippers.

Now gearing up for his second go-round as a member of the Clippers, his hometown team, the former San Diego State Aztecs standout unexpectedly finds himself in a strange position with the 2020-21 regular season looming large.

The Clippers’ early exit in the 2020 NBA Playoffs forced the organization to make significant offseason changes. Coach Doc Rivers was fired, and he subsequently moved to the Philadelphia 76ers. The roster has been reshuffled, with Serge Ibaka coming in and Montrezl Harrell going to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers sacrificed picks and assets to bring Leonard into the fold. They have to make his acquisition pay off sooner rather than later… because “later” might never come.