The wait is over for the biggest name in NBA Free Agency for Summer 2019 to announce his destination. Kawhi Leonard is now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. He joins Michael Jordan as the only two NBA Finals MVPs to leave their teams coming off that honor.
Early Saturday morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski put out a much anticipated “Woj Bomb” informing the world of Kawhi Leonard’s new home.
12:54 am CDT doesn’t mean anything to anyone, anymore. Next time, go to bed and save it for when the sun rises.
Well, it turns out Shams Charania was actually seconds ahead of Woj but did not receive as much love. You win some, you lose some. Maybe next time, Shams.
Woj follows up by sharing the news that Paul George will be joining him in Lala Land.
This came as a shock to NBA fans everywhere but especially those that are members of the Oklahoma City Thunder fan base. Why would Paul George be traded?
George signed a 4-year/$137 million dollar extension to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC fans were rejoicing as they had George locked up to play alongside Russell Westbrook for years to come.
Even the OKC mayor David Dolt joined in the excitement by cementing July 7th as “Paul George Day” in Oklahoma City. Doubt that was celebrated this year.
Ultimately, the George trade brings in a massive haul for the OKC Thunder. They will receive four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps. Also included in the trade are Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
This move was very strategically planned by 28-year-old Leonard. LA was always looked at as an option. He wanted to go last year but ultimately was traded to Toronto. He took care of business and made this summer all about what he wanted. The Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors remained as top choices entering the off-season.
Leonard worked on making it his focus to connect with guys around the league to join forces in other cities. At one point, there was a trade in place that would have kept Leonard with the Raptors while they brought in Paul George and Russell Westbrook. Raps backed out as they were not feeling the trade especially since it involved sending reigning Most-Improved Player, Pascal Siakam to the Thunder.
Kawhi kept pushing for Paul George and would only sign with a team that would be able to work out a trade for him. Thunders’ hands were tied and eventually made the trade.
Kawhi’s move was a swift process that kept everyone in the dark, even teams he was talking to. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne shared a wild story in the Kawhi Sweepstakes.
That tweet is a major “THIS LEAGUE” type of situation and only adds to the craziness of the signing.
“You can’t blame a guy for wanting to go home. That’s what he texted me today ‘I’m going home.’ And I just said ‘You’ve changed a lot of lives by what you’ve accomplished in Toronto, mine especially.’ And thanked him for what he did ..” -First-year coach and NBA Champion Nick Nurse.
Just a year ago, it looked as if LeBron James had the key to Los Angeles and had it all to himself but Leonard’s arrival marks a new NBA and L.A. landscape.
There will now be no LBJ, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard trio but instead several duos across NBA cities.
Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard and Paul George is the main duo that will fill the Staples Center on nights the Lakers are not playing at home. They will play alongside Sixth Man of the year, Lou Williams, Pat Beverly, and Co.
Coming off his second title, Leonard has a chance to bring a title to his third city and cement his legacy as one of the greats in the NBA, and also in Los Angeles.
Funniest Moment of the Weekend
NBA Summer League in Las Vegas has kicked off. The league allows rookies, NBA hopefuls, and other players to work on their skills and to try and prove they belong in the league.
How do current players spend the time? Well, they attend and support their teammates and friends around the league.
Superstar NBA players show up which becomes a spectacle which allows for great viral photo ops. To no surprise, this one involved LeBron James.
Lebron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma were enjoying some Summer League games when they were met with future same-building rivals. Those rivals included Clippers’ Patrick Beverly and Lou Williams.
Not sure what was said but this confrontation was post-trade so something was definitely said. If something was said, Pat Bev seems like the likely suspect. He enjoys getting in peoples face.
The no-look, dap might have solidified Bev’s “locked in” point when it comes to the rivalry between the two LA team for their upcoming season.
NBA Free Agency is arguably one of the most exciting times of the sports year. This one (so far) has been no different as the drama unfolded in front of everyone’s eyes thanks to social media and phones.
While most big names are signed, don’t be shocked with continued NBA drama in the coming weeks.