This is a EARTH SHATTERING moment in franchise history of the LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS!!!!!!!!!
The Los Angeles Clippers’ year-long pursuit two time NBA CHAMPION, Kawhi Leonard has come to fruition.
Kwahi Leonard is arguably the best player on the planet right now. His postseason run was historic — from his series-clinching shot in Game 7 against Philadelphia to his 732 total playoff points that trailed only LeBron James and Michael Jordan in league history. In 24 games, he averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.7 steals and shot 49% from the field. He earned his second Finals MVP award.
Leonard, the crown jewel of the NBA’s 2019 free agency class, will reportedly be joined by all-star forward Paul George, who will arrive to the Clippers via a blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder will receive forward Danilo Gallinari, guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and five first-round picks in the deal.
This league-altering series of events is a signature triumph for the Clippers, who have long played second fiddle to the Lakers in Los Angeles and will now emerge as one of the favorites to win the Western Conference in 2020.
Leonard, 28, averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists last season, before taking his game to new heights in a postseason run for the ages. He leaves Toronto after a memorable season in which the Raptors unseated the Golden State Warriors to win the first title of their 24-year franchise history, turning down the possibility of a five-year, $190 million max contract to stay.
By returning to L.A., Leonard completes a circuitous basketball journey that began as a high school star in Riverside, Calif., about an hour east of Los Angeles. After two standout seasons at San Diego State, Leonard spent his first seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Clippers were well-equipped for next season prior to signing Leonard, given their depth up and down the roster and the leadership of NBA CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING HEAD COACH, AND FUTURE HALL OF FAMER, Doc Rivers. The Clippers were the smart organization, they respected Kwahi Leonard’s privacy, and they were rewarded for that the respect they gave to their coveted 2x NBA CHAMPIONSHIP-2X NBA MVP NEWLY ACQUIRED HIRE.
They recruited him as hard as they could, knowing what he could mean for the future of this franchise. With Leonard, the Clippers become the top title contender in the entire NBA, the team to beat in the both conferences.
Leonard is arguably the best player on the planet right now. His postseason run was historic — from his series-clinching shot in Game 7 against Philadelphia to his 732 total playoff points that trailed only LeBron James and Michael Jordan in league history. In 24 games, he averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.7 steals and shot 49% from the field. He earned his second Finals MVP award.
Simply put: He’s a game-changer, and he immediately makes the Clippers a title contender.
He also brings star power, which the Clippers haven’t had much of the past two seasons.
“He is the most like Jordan that we’ve seen,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of Leonard on an ESPN broadcast in May — comments that led to a $50,000 tampering fine. “Like, there’s a lot of great players. LeBron is phenomenal. KD is phenomenal. Not that (Leonard) is Jordan or anything like that, but he is the most like him.
“Big hands. Post game. Can finish. Great leaper. Great defender. In-between game. If you beat him to the spot, he bumps you off. And then you add his 3-point shooting.”
George and Leonard give the Clippers a stellar one-two punch. Despite shoulder issues late in the season, George was an MVP finalist in 2018-19, averaging 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and a league-leading 2.2 steals per game. George signed a four-year, $137 million deal with the Thunder last summer.
Like Leonard, a two-time defensive player of the year, George is a Southern California native with a strong two-way game – as evidenced by his four All-Defensive team selections. The duo should provide the Clippers with one of the top lockdown wing tandems the league has seen in some time.
Kawhi Leonard, the 2x NBA CHAMPION, 2X NBA MVP, will sign a 4 year, $144 million contract, keeping him in a Clippers uniform for the next 4 years. And look for the Los Angeles Clippers to resign in to the NBA Super Max Extension, after they win the next three NBA CHAMPIONSHIPS.
Despite winning a NBA Title, and his first Finals MVP in 2014, Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs broke down in 2017 while he dealt with a nagging leg injury. That impasse led the Raptors to trading for Leonard last summer, even though reports at the time suggested he had interest in joining the Lakers.
Leonard is a made man in a way that doesn’t require an alignment with one particular franchise, and choosing the Clippers doesn’t seem to be a surprise considering the feats he’s accomplished in his short but distinguished Hall of Fame-worthy career.
The fact he was able to get George to come along with him speaks to the respect he’s garnered from players, and his secrecy reflects the borderline fear franchises had of breaking his trust in free agency. George was an MVP finalist this past season, and for the last several years, he and Leonard were mentioned as the league’s best two-way players. George wasn’t thought to be the perfect complement to Leonard — too much duplication, perhaps — but this year showed Leonard can take care of his body with the big picture in mind, and George’s strong, healthy segment showed he was capable of carrying a team, especially when Oklahoma City was viewed as a top threat to Golden State for most of the year.
George gets a new lease, a chance to hit the reset button after committing to Oklahoma City last summer. It’s important to remember he didn’t choose to go to Oklahoma City when he wanted out of Indiana in 2017 — he wanted to get back to California, like Leonard.
One year later, Leonard exits Canada and returns home with no unfinished business. The three-time all-star averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists during Toronto’s title run, earning widespread recognition as the league’s best player during the playoffs.
In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semis, he hit a buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times to eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers. In the Eastern Conference finals, his defense on 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo helped Toronto dig out of an 0-2 hole to eliminate the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. Then, in the Finals, he outdueled Stephen Curry and the Warriors, and lifted the steady Raptors to an NBA CHAMPIONSHIP.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri showed some gumption by even making the deal, knowing full well it could be a 12-month rental. Yet he still pushed all his chips to the table and won. The Clippers saw what the result could be once Leonard made it known he wanted to come and committed the massive haul for George.
HEY DOC, GO AND GET DEMARCUS COUSINS, RIGHT NOW. THAT PUTS YOU AT A NBA CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE 2019-2020 SEASON, PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MORE NBA NEWS
Free agent guard Danny Green has agreed to a two-year, $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Drafted by the Cavaliers with the 46th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Green played 20 games his rookie year in Cleveland before joining the Spurs in 2010. During the 2013 NBA Finals, Green set an NBA record for most three-point field goals made in a Finals series and won his first championship the following year.
Green averaged 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds with the Raptors last season and will now be joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles.
CONGRATULATIONS KWAHI LEONARD ON YOUR MOVE TO BE WITH THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS AND THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING COACH AND FUTURE HALL OF FAMER, DOC RIVERS.