After much speculation, Kawhi Leonard has officially signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Coming off his incredible postseason run, Leonard brings an elite multi-level scoring ability as well as the best perimeter defense in the league to a team already set with a playoff-ready core. Some of that core was shipped off in a massive trade for Paul George as the Clippers pair two superstars to make themselves a legitimate contender in the West but enough remains that the Clippers still have solid pieces surrounding the two stars.
Kawhi Leonard Agrees to Sign With Clippers in Free Agency
Leonard took his time with the decision and despite a number of the Clippers’ role player targets flying off the board as they held fast, they didn’t panic. With their already strong core and subsequent trade for Paul George, the Clippers are immediate contenders and look to fill out the remainder of their roster via free agency after their massive dual acquisition.
The Clippers lost some of the depth that made them dangerous in the regular season with the move, however, gained a huge boost to their starting lineup in two of the game’s premier two-way wing players. George and Leonard are two of the games best closers and the duo should be incredibly difficult to match up with in a seven-game series.
Leonard is coming off an epic NBA Playoff run in which he willed the Raptors to an NBA title. From his series-ending shot against the 76ers to his masterpiece in the dominant comeback against the Bucks, Leonard was the steady hand for a Raptors team that had never made a finals appearance – much less won a title.
Kawhi Leonard Fit With Clippers
In terms of his fit, Kawhi Leonard slides in alongside Paul George perfectly with the defensive-minded Clippers. Leonard and George pair up with point guard Patrick Beverley to create one of the meanest perimeter defenses in the league while they still retain interior breakout player Montrezl Harrell.
Kawhi and George should form an electric offensive duo as they both can create and score from all three levels while Beverley is a willing distributor and Harrell functions as a solid screen and roll target. While Leonard should function as the primary offensive creator, George functioned exceedingly well in an off-ball role next to Russell Westbrook on the Thunder and should likely do even better in a more fluid offense alongside Leonard.
While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari were shipped off and the Clippers lose some depth, they more than make up for their losses with the addition of two superstars. The Clippers now offer a rival duo to the Lakers’ pair of Anthony Davis and LeBron James as the Clippers and Lakers square off to see which team reigns supreme in Los Angeles – and likely the Western Conference.