From the start of Free agency Kawhi Leonard had his sights set on three possible destinations. Either he would stay with the Toronto Raptors a team he recently won a championship with, team up with LeBron and A.D. with the Lakers, or become the face of a scrappy LA Clipper team. A lot of NBA analysts were telling the public the Lakers would be the lucky winners of the Kawhi lottery. However, the LA Clippers weren’t having it. According to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s First Take, Kawhi’s lengthy decision-making process was purposely done to give each team time to improve their roster. Upon meeting with the LA Clippers it was understood that another big name player wanted to join him but time would be needed to make the trade happen. So like a thief in the night, it was reported at 1 am on July 6th that not only would Kawhi Leonard be heading to the clippers but they traded to require Paul George as well.
It has been reported that Paul George went to executive’s with OKC and requested a trade specifically to the Clippers. Unlike George’s previous team The Indiana Pacers they agreed to George’s request. The OKC Thunder would acquire second-year PG Shai Gilgeous- Alexander, Forward Danilo Gallinari, Four unprotected first-round picks, One protective first round pick, and two pick swaps. While The LA Clippers acquired Paul George which helped them sign Kawhi Leonard for a reported four year 142 million dollar deal. Along with the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that took place last night during Zion Williamson NBA summer league debut, this shook LA’s core.
Although it would be hard to bet against LeBron and A.D. the Clippers clearly have a better collective team. Last season the Clippers made the playoffs while the Lakers missed out. The Clippers were also able to keep most of their vets like Lou Williams, Patrick Beverly, and Montrezl Harrell. While the Lakers only have 4 players signed AD, Lebron, Kyle Kuzma, and Danny Green. It is understood that Danny Green has signed a 2 year 30 million dollar deal.
While the NBA world would’ve loved to see one of the greatest trios ever in Lebron, A.D. and Kawhi team up the moves made make for more parity. Do these moves create storylines like who will be the better team next year? will the Clippers finally win a championship? who will the Lakers get to fill the rest of the roster? and does Russel Westbrook demand a trade from OKC? Needless to say, this was the best finish to an NBA season in years and the anticipation for next season is out the roof.