For a guy that says so little, Kawhi Leonard has taken his recruiting efforts to new heights this offseason. After a dramatic, whirlwind few days of free agency, Leonard became one of the last (and biggest) dominoes to fall, choosing the Clippers over the field and forcing a trade that saw him pairing up with Paul George.
Apparently, it was Kawhi’s smooth talking that swayed George away from the Thunder, but he wasn’t the only one. Apparently, in a report by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the 2x Finals MVP also called superstar point guard Kyrie Irving.
“In one backroom power move, Kawhi Leonard rescued Paul George from a capped-out low-level playoff team; rejected the Lakers’ attempts to build perhaps the greatest big three in basketball history; and left the league as open as it has been in years. The league’s quietest superstar ‘found his voice,’ as one executive put it. He recruited George, Durant and even Kyrie Irving at points, sources say.”
As an unrestricted free agent, Uncle Drew could have essentially gone anywhere this summer. He and Kawhi would have formed a deadly tandem. In the end, he signed with the Nets and will play with Kevin Durant.
Still, Kawhi’s seemingly loud summer has drawn a major question: was he ever really considering the Lakers? With LeBron and Anthony Davis, there was no way he was going to bring either KD or Kyrie with him to the Lakers. One has to think the Clippers were always in the lead.
But who knows — had they not traded for one of the best two-way wings in the game, we might be having a different conversation. No matter how good Kawhi is, he clearly does not want to play alone.