The Los Angeles Lakers have had their fair share of bonafide superstars throughout the course of franchise history. George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and more recently LeBron James and Anthony Davis are just some of the players who’ve had the honor of wearing their threads.
That’s why it wasn’t crazy to believe that the purple-and-gold were quite close to signing Kawhi Leonard last summer, especially considering he had reportedly narrowed down his choice to the Lakers or Clippers.
And, while he eventually decided to sign for Steve Ballmer’s team and join forces with Paul George, even coach Frank Vogel thought that the Lakers were the frontrunners to get him at some point.
“Of course. We thought we had a strong chance of getting Kawhi. There was a long stretch leading up to July 1st and that first week where we felt like this could happen. What that team would look like. Obviously, we were pretty good without him, so if we were to have him, it would’ve been special. But we did believe we had a chance,” Vogel recently told Zach Lowe on The Lowe Post.
At the end of the day, Kawhi joining the Clippers was actually better for the league. It brought a feeling of balance back to the game as we move from the Big 3 era to just 2 superstars per team.
Obviously, it didn’t end up well for Leonard, as his team blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals, while the Lakers ended up winning the NBA Championship. Needless to say, a Big 3 of Leonard, Davis, and James would have been unfair to the rest of the league.
Then again, Leonard has some years left in his contract and can still prove that he made the right choice if he leads the Clippers to their first-ever NBA Championship like he did with the Toronto Raptors.