Christmas is a big day in L.A., but not just because of the holiday. The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers square off in another round of the battle for the city. The Lakers have primarily ruled the city – taking home an impressive 16 NBA Championships. The Clippers were previously viewed as the underdog and have never won a title.
This past summer the city as a whole gained three big stars that immediately made both teams legitimate title contenders. The Lakers already had superstar LeBron James, but they also landed Anthony Davis in a blockbuster trade. The Clippers, on the other hand, added two huge superstars when they signed Kawhi Leonard as a free agent and acquired Paul George via trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Leonard signed with the Clippers after he led the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship. Now, several months later, there are rumors that Leonard’s advisor/uncle allegedly made illegal requests from both the Lakers and Raptors when conversing about the star’s free agency.
Reported Illegal Requests From Lakers
Per Bleacher Report, it has been reported that Leonard’s uncle/advisor Dennis Robertson, had a list of requirements for the Lakers to fulfill in order to sign Leonard. Those alleged requirements reportedly included: Leonard to receive a partial ownership share in the team, private plane access, a house and a guaranteed amount of endorsement money to secure his commitment. These requests are all in violation of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, therefore, they were denied by Lakers president Jeanie Buss.
It is also rumored that similar requests were made to the Toronto Raptors as well. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed to The Athletic that the league is taking these claims seriously and are investigating numerous “activities” from the free-agency period. Currently, the league has not found any evidence of the Clippers participating in illegal deals.
Per The Athletic:
“We did tell our teams (at the Board of Governors meeting in New York in late September) that we are looking into and continue to look into activities from this summer,” Silver told The Athletic earlier this season when asked if the Clippers were under investigation. “I will also say that we (were) trying to draw a line at this board meeting, and focus everyone on the (free agency) rules going forward. I think that (I’ll) just leave it at that. We are looking at the behavior from the summer. We have and we continue to look at it, but first and foremost we want to change the way business is done going forward.”
Kawhi and the Clippers haven’t commented on the investigation to this point.
Wednesday night, the Clippers and Lakers will square off for the second time this season. The previous meeting came on opening night, with the Clippers picking up a 112-102 victory. They earned that win without their star in Paul George as he was recovering from surgery at the time. The team should have George on Wednesday. Tip-off tomorrow is at 5 p.m. PST.