Six days has passed since NBA free agency begun, and Kawhi Leonard still had not made a decision on where he would be playing next season.
Recently, California was experiencing a series of earthquakes, with the largest one registering 7.1 on the Richter scale on Friday evening. Late Friday into early Saturday morning Kawhi Leonard shook the NBA world when he announced he would be playing in LA for the Clippers, and not the Lakers.
NBA fans were shocked that he had decided to pass on the opportunity to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers. Members of the media assumed that Kawhi was going to become a Laker.
I stated all along that he was not going to sign with the Lakers, and that he was going to remain in Toronto. That would’ve been the case, but OKC Thunder’s general manager Sam Presti was able to pull off a historic trade.
He sent All-NBA, All-Defense, All-Star Paul George to the Clippers in exchange for 5 first round picks 4 unprotected, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari. The Clippers had to pay a high price tag to get Kawhi, but that’s the price you must pay to get a superstar.
If it was not for this late night trade Kawhi would’ve remained with the Raptors. He delivered the franchise and Canada a championship. He spoke highly of the organization especially the load management program they developed for him. This program kept him healthy and strong during the season, and during his dominate post-season run. Ultimately Kawhi wanted to play LA and the opportunity to play alongside Paul George was something he could not pass up.
Ever since Steve Ballmer bought the Clippers he has done everything possible to turn the Clippers into a well run respectable franchise. They also have been fighting to get out of the shadows of the Lakers and remove the stigma of being the little brother to the Lakers.
If your the Lakers let this be a long overdue wake-up call. It’s time to clean up your organization and remove all the dysfunction. No superstar is coming to your franchise until you become a competent organization. LeBron picked the Lakers because his off the court interests and his family outweighed his basketball decision , and AD picked the Lakers because of LeBron.
What we just witnessed was the best game of chess played by a player. Leonard used the Lakers as a smoke screen, and while everyone was focused on the Lakers he was behind the scenes deciding his future. The Clippers are finally relevant and let the battle for Los Angeles commence.