The Los Angeles Clippers have long lived under the shadow of Laker Nation. And while they shared the same arena, they (historically) have not shared the same success.
This past summer, things changed in that regard and for the first time since the "Big 3" era, the Clippers are considered amongst the favorites to win the NBA title.
It all started with Paul George.
The George trade was the link that secured Leonard's arrival and established the Clips as one of the best teams in the West. In a chat with Andrew Grief of the L.A. Times, team owner Steve Ballmer described the PG trade as a "gulp" move.
“The deal we made for Paul George? That’s a kind of ‘gulp’ deal,” Ballmer said. “‘Are we in on this thing? People say, do owners make decisions? Well everybody’s got to be lined up on a decision like that. I’m super happy with where we are.”
The Clippers have done a miraculous job turning the franchise around, so much so that opposing teams are starting to model their own front-office staff around their own.
The "gulp" deal by L.A. was certainly risky. Trading five draft picks, two players and two pick swaps for George was a steep price. And what if Kawhi chose the Lakers or Raptors?
Despite the questions, the team trusted each other and took risks -- risks that are very much being rewarded. We will see the result soon enough.