Kawhi Leonard changed the landscape of the NBA last season when he defeated the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals and then switch teams, going from Toronto to Los Angeles to join the Clippers. The small forward made some moves that really changed the picture, ending the super team era, starting one when duos are going to rule the league, but Leonard was actually close to creating his own superteam in LA.
He teamed up with Paul George in Los Angeles, but Leonard could have gotten two more pieces to the Staples Center. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, Leonard reached out to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to try to lure them to the Clippers, but as we know now, they opted to go to the East coast and sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
The spike has mostly run its course. Kevin Durant is in Brooklyn. 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.
Kawhi still got a piece of the cake with Paul George, his running mate in the Clippers’ journey to the championship. They have already met the expectations, finishing the regular season as the #2 seed in the West for the first time in history. Now they’ll try to reach the Conference Finals for the first time ever and win the championship for the Clips.
Next year, we could see them going at it against Durant and Irving, who would return from injuries, trying to lead the Nets to the ‘ship.