Kawhi Leonard reportedly outmoded Russell Westbrook to accept Paul George to the Clippers
Kawhi Leonard is is idea as a individual of few phrases, but he became once reportedly the mastermind at the aid of the Los Angeles Clippers’ gigantic free company coup in the summer season of 2019. Leonard had appropriate led the Toronto Raptors to a swish NBA championship when he entered free company in 2019. Leonard sought a return to his native southern California, and had the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers both vying for him. The mutual interest between Leonard and the Clippers became once real, but Leonard important but every other co-well-known individual to head with him.
Per a novel document by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, a fellow celeb reportedly approached Leonard about becoming a member of him in LA: Russell Westbrook. At the time, Westbrook became once tranquil taking half in on the Oklahoma Metropolis Train, but he moreover important to come to his native Los Angeles and saw an different to affix himself to Leonard to accept there.
Westbrook reportedly assign in a name to Leonard to pitch the basis, but he didn’t accept an settlement from Kawhi. As a replacement, Leonard became around and known as Westbrook’s teammate in Oklahoma Metropolis — Paul George — and advised him about Westbrook’s inquiry. Leonard most traditional to play with George over Westbrook, and weeks later George requested a substitute to the Clippers. LA’s other crew had pulled off one of the well-known most swish 1-2 punches in free company in league historical past.
Shelburne has the details at ESPN:
Westbrook would as an different be traded to the Houston Rockets to play with James Harden. A three hundred and sixty five days later, he became once despatched to the Washington Wizards in alternate for John Wall. Westbrook somehow got his blueprint shut to play in Los Angeles on the evening of the 2021 NBA Draft when the Wizards traded him to the Lakers.
It became once a crafty dawdle by Leonard, but his championship aspirations on the Clippers own but to work out. Leonard and George’s Clippers crew blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the bubble playoffs remaining season, and then lost to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals after Leonard suffered a partial drag of his ACL.
George reportedly wasn’t Leonard’s first preference, both. Per reporting by insider Marc Stein in 2019, Leonard reached out to Jimmy Butler and Kevin Durant a couple of partnership on the Clippers earlier than George. Here’s Stein’s radio hit transcribed on the details at the aid of the celeb phone calls.
In most cases, the final week of free company is when he zeroed in on Paul George. Ya know, he didn’t launch there. He made a poke at Jimmy Butler first, and that became once going on even all around the playoffs. And he moreover explored Kevin Durant. ‘Kevin, would you come to the Clippers with me?’ … We’ve known the Clippers own important Kawhi for a extremely lengthy time. But Kawhi important to be joined by an elite-level participant. And I’m not attempting to point out that Paul became once his third preference. They’re clearly chums and he loves Paul George, but Paul George wasn’t gettable. He has three extra years on his contract, two earlier than a participant risk. So that you wouldn’t own focused Paul George first attributable to even Kawhi Leonard wouldn’t own concept he became once accessible.
Leonard is now a free agent again. He is the stop participant accessible this summer season no topic the partly torn ACL that clouds his situation for next season. The most latest experiences say Leonard is likely to re-mark with the Clippers, but he’s moreover taking conferences with other teams. Leonard reportedly wants a ‘1+1’ deal from LA, in accordance with Chris Haynes, which could give him a participant risk after this season and enable him to accept aid on the beginning market.
Can even Leonard play the Clippers this time by taking their money for next season while he’s injured, and then planning his next dawdle to but every other franchise? It’s exhausting to place aside this sort of dawdle past him after the formulation he pulled the correct strings in 2019.