Kawhi Leonard signed a four-year, $142 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday in a deal that also included superstar Paul George.
What We Know:
- The two superstar forwards met to make the trade happen together; Leonard recruited George to join him to ensure the Clippers will be a championship contender. This stipulation is what ultimately drew Leonard to the Clippers over other teams he met with as a free agent. Two of those teams were the Lakers and the Raptors.
- Leonard was mostly motivated by the prospect of playing with George and being closer to home. The Raptors could have offered him a $190 million contract. Reports say Leonard used this offer to put pressure on the Clippers to trade for George. With the Lakers, Leonard would have had the opportunity to make an all-star team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
- ESPN reported that the Clippers’ move to agree to take George in addition to Leonard was largely an effort to keep Leonard from the Lakers. George came at a high cost; the Clippers traded one protected first-round pick, four unprotected first-round picks, two pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to get George.
Sources: Leonard and George met in LA earlier in week. Clippers had long been frontrunners for Leonard, but it is unlikely he would've made final leap to sign without PG trade. Clippers imagined Leonard as part of a Lakers Big 3 — and knew they had no choice. They did OKC deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
- The Clippers also acquired forward Maurice Harkless from the Trail Blazers as part of a four-team trade. Clippers point guard Patrick Beverly and center Ivica Zubac signed to remain on the LA Clippers; Beverly signed a three-year, $40 million contract and Zubac signed a four-year, $28 million deal.
Leonard’s move comes during an eventful free agency with moves from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler.