Shocker! Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the Clippers
Written by Sean Fitzgerald on July 6, 2019
Photo Credit: forbes.com
The wait is finally over.
After several days of the NBA world wondering and waiting anxiously as to where Kawhi Leonard would end up, it was announced that he has agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The deal is for four years and $141 million dollars.
Not only that, but Leonard was able to pitch Oklahoma City’s Paul George to request a trade to the Clippers as the pair now team up in a star-studded LA landscape with Anthony Davis and LeBron James in the same building with the Lakers.
For George, the Clippers gave up three unprotected first-round picks for the 2022, 2024 and 2026 drafts. They also gave up an unprotected first rounder in 2021 and a protected first in 2023, both via Miami.
The deal also includes the right for the Thunder to swap picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinar also go to Oklahoma City.
Leonard, who lead the Raptors to their first NBA title this June, winning his second ring and finals MVP, met with the Lakers, Clippers and Raptors in free agency.
The forward waited to make a decision until near the end of the moratorium, days after the mass hysteria of the opening wave of free agency died down when free agency opened on June 30.
Averaging 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 60 regular season games, Leonard had a career year while the Raptors, who managed the load of games he played in his first season back from an injury that derailed his relationship with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs ended up trading Leonard and guard Danny Green north for a package headlined by DeMar DeRozan.
In the Finals against an injury-riddled Golden State Warriors team, he upped his game even further, averaging 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists with help from Danny Green, Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and the other Raptors.
Even more impressive was this Raptor’s squad was the first team to win a title without a single lottery pick on the roster. Leonard was the highest picked player, drafted No. 15 overall in 2011.
George finished third in this year’s MVP voting and is currently recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. League sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he will miss the first few weeks of the 2019-2020 season.
With Leonard now under contract, the biggest free agent left on the board is arguably DeMarcus Cousins.