All summer long, we had heard reports that the race between Kawhi was between two teams: the Lakers and Raptors. In the end, though, neither ended up with the 2x Finals MVP.
It was the Clippers who pulled off the heist of the century, securing the services of Kawhi and then trading for Paul George from Oklahoma City to go along with him. But how did The Klaw convince George to abandon Russ and the Thunder just two seasons into his tenure there?
According to an ESPN report, it took a lot of effort on Kawhi’s part, including phone calls text messages to the former Oklahoma star.
Leonard’s ambition in trying to recruit Durant to the Clippers suggested he was serious about joining LA in free agency. But it also suggested that they needed to get him another star.
After the Clippers met with Leonard for approximately three hours at head coach Doc Rivers’ house in Malibu on Monday night, both sides went to work to make that happen. At the same time he was meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors this week, Leonard was meeting, calling and texting with George, trying to convince him to find a way out of Oklahoma City.
Still, Leonard’s recruiting efforts caught George by surprise.
Said one source close to George, “For a quiet guy, he’s a hell of a recruiter.”
In the end, PG just couldn’t pass up what he saw as the opportunity of a lifetime.
George felt like it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to play at home in L.A. alongside a generational talent like Leonard. So in the middle of the week, he went to Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti and asked for a trade — to the Clippers.
Despite Leonard’s quiet reputation, his words were enough to secure an All-Star teammate to Los Angeles. But will his play be enough to carry them to a title? That remains to be seen.