The shock over the news of Kawhi Leonard’s signing with the Los Angeles Clippers and the blockbuster deal for the team to acquire Paul George which followed remains high. But with the outlook now beginning to really soak in, rumblings and reports on the decision continue to come out, and the latest is certainly interesting.
While Leonard was reportedly down to the Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers or a return to the Toronto Raptors, he took a unique avenue to inform his old team of the eventual move. According to Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet, Leonard told former Raptors teammates of his decision via text just as the news began breaking.
Regardless of how the news was passed along to Raptors players, it certainly had to hurt. At the very least, it appears Leonard did get a message out to his former teammates before things officially sent the NBA into a whirlwind. That obviously doesn’t make it any easier to hear, but from the sound of it, Leonard’s decision, along with the trade for George, all happened incredibly quickly.
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Clippers’ Blockbuster Night Shakes NBA Landscape
The Clippers’ signing of Leonard and trade for George were revealed at the same time, obviously showing that it was a move the former Raptors star was hoping for. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news, and as he explained, Leonard pushed to find a way to get George to the Clippers and in turn, it resulted in his choice to sign there.
Although the addition of Leonard and George together is huge for the Clippers, they gave up a huge haul, which Woj revealed included five first-round picks. Beyond that, it also featured second-year guard Shai Gilgeous Alexander and forward Danilo Gallinari heading to the Thunder.
The belief over recent weeks was that Leonard was likely to head back to the Raptors or sign with the Lakers, which would mean teaming up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Instead, he opted to head to Los Angeles, but do so with his own star teammate in George, as the Clippers are now well-equipped to battle the Lakers for many years to come.
Clippers’ Roster With Leonard & George Looks Impressive
Along with the additions of George and Leonard, the Clippers still have Patrick Beverley, who re-signed this offseason, along with the likes of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. To add to the overall depth on the Clippers bench, names like Landry Shamet, Maurice Harkless, Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele all stand out.
In another big move made shortly after the Leonard news, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday that the Clippers re-signed center Ivica Zubac as well. The former Lakers big man who was acquired via trade last season will receive a four-year, $28 million deal to remain as a member of the Clippers.