The Clippers’ not-so-subtle attempts at recruiting Kawhi Leonard is starting to catch up with them. Remember Doc Rivers’ $50,000 fine for calling Kahwi “Jordan-esque?” Well, according to Raptors beat reporter Josh Lewenberg, that fine was as much about L.A.’s previous attempts at wooing Kawhi than it was about Doc’s comments on ESPN.
The Raptors have reached out to the league multiple times this season when they’ve felt the Clippers have crossed a line in their not-so-subtle pursuit of Leonard, I’m told. Would imagine today’s $50K anti-tampering fine had as much to do with those incidents as Doc’s comments
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 31, 2019
The Lakers made to look like fools for their tampering charges on both Paul George and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Their pursuit of Anthony Davis cost them their team chemistry and also, probably, a trip to the postseason after the Pelicans leaked their offer to the world.
The Clippers have been no less aggressive in their pursuits of Kawhi. They have been attending games, they tried to buy out the rights to his logo, and they have made it exceptionally clear that they will do what it takes to get him to L.A. next season. Doc Rivers’ rather bold comment about him is just the latest in a long line of tampering instances.
No doubt, the Clippers would take 10 fines if it meant they could convince Leonard. But their desperation and repeated stretch of the tampering rules is just not a good look for them. If they fail to acquire him this summer, it will look even worse.