Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers and Paul George was traded to the Clippers in this crazy NBA Free Agency, but Kawhi intentionally hurt the Lakers. #NBA #Kawhi
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Kawhi Leonard just signed with the Clippers for a 4 year $142 million dollar deal and convinced Paul George to demand a trade. (Kawhi Laugh) The Clippers then traded 4 unprotected first round picks, 1 protected first round pick, 2 pick swaps, Danilo Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous Alexander for Paul George. The Lakers are left in a tough spot which was the plan.
With Kawhi and Paul George going to the Clippers, the Lakers watched all possible quality free agents sign with other teams without the Lakers even giving an offer. If you don’t remember, the Lakers had 6 players signed to their active roster. Anthony Daivs, LeBron, Kuzma, Troy Daniels, Horton-Tucker, and Jared Dudley. They just signed Danny Green, Cadwell Pope, and JaVale McGee to make it 9 players which I will get into, but they saw free agents like Seth Curry, J.J. Reddick, Bioojan Bogdonovic, Brook Lopez all sign without even meeting the Lakers simply because the Lakers were waiting out on Kawhi. They were betting that Kawhi would sign with them, but this was always a very real possibility that Kawhi would either resign with the Raptors or go to the Clippers. If Kawhi decided late in free agency that he wasn’t going to the Lakers, the Lakers understood that they would be in their current predicament of having a lot of cap space with no one to spend it on.
Kawhi and Paul George met in LA earlier this week in which Kawhi asked PG to team up with him on the Lakers. He never had the intention of building a superteam with the Lakers, yet he still entertained them. Kawhi met with the Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors on Monday. In that meeting with the Clippers, he specifically told Steve Ballmer that if they can get PG, he’s coming to the Clippers. Keep in mind that Paul George just resigned last season and has 3 years left on his contract. To tell the Clippers that they need to get Paul George and to tell Paul George to join him, He got Paul George to demand a trade from the Thunder. The Thunder who already had just lost in back to back first rounds, were thinking of blowing it all up already and so as crazy as it seems to trade a guy who was an MVP candidate with 3 years left on his contract in his prime, the situation presented itself. And here come the Clippers, knowing that if they are able to get Paul George, that they would also secure Kawhi. That trade wasn’t for one superstar, it was for two, and so when you look at the 7 first round picks along with Shai and Galinari, think about that being the trade offer for Kawhi and PG in their primes for 4 and 3 years respectively. The Clippers also have a championship winning coach in Doc Rivers who beat the Lakers with the richest owner in the NBA in Steve Ballmer with possibly the best executive in NBA history in Jerry West, you know the logo, the guy who made the Lakers actually good at trading and signing players. Once again, if it was just Kawhi with great role players, the Lakers still had two of the top 5 players in the NBA and so with average role players, the Lakers would be the favorites, but the addition of Paul George leaves the Lakers at a severe disadvantage.
Keep in mind that each year for LeBron is important, because we don’t know how many years of high level play LeBron has left. This is not me saying of LeBron doesn’t have enough help because LeBron has AD, but I’m talking about the potential missed and the repercussions of it. He will turn 35 during this upcoming season and so missing out on role players this offseason wastes another year of what the Lakers could have been, a year that is so precious. The issue is that 2 year deals or even 1 year of overpaying and missing out on 40% of the league being free agents is failing to equip AD and LeBron with what could have been in their small window for a championship with LeBron aging, and all of that is a direct product of Kawhi Leonard toying with the Lakers.
We also know that by Kawhi and Magic’s conversations being leaked, Kawhi was probably liking the Lakers less and less. Well Kawhi gave the Clippers a test to see how much they wanted him by giving them one demand. Kawhi played this perfectly. Uncle Dennis really got the sage advice. Whoever is in his circle is really telling Kawhi the right things. There was no losing situations out of those 3 places for Kawhi. This has to be the single greatest offseason in NBA history and this move by Kawhi and Paul George has to be one of the slickest, quietest moves made by two superstars that sucker punched their biggest competition, but what do you think? Who’s winning the championship in 2020?