Kawhi, Paul George to Clips, Completing the Latest NBA Buddy System
If two dudes wanna make sure they get lotsa playdates together, this is how to make it happen.
SoCal homies Kawhi Leonard and Paul George orchestrated a master plan of intrigue, stealth, and demands to make certain they wound up on the same team.
The Los Angeles Clippers have gotta be pinching themselves.
Ever since LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade blazed a players-rule trail and confirmed an NBA GM's job is to fill in the blanks after the stars have had their say, it was inevitable that an off-season kaffeeklatsch of free agency would ultimately arise.
This was the year.
The tsunami that was this summer's wave of player moves began with a common star player tactic. Anthony Davis wanted to join LeBron in Tinseltown and basically gave the New Orleans Pelicans no other option.
Then, the movement scaled up.
Durant wasn't happy with Golden State for obvious reasons like tension with Draymond Green and frustration with the Dubs' medical staff, but it apprently went farther back than that.
Some will say he left $80million on the table, but get real. He's on a kajillion-dollar deal with Nike, the Nets will make it up to him in a later contract, and he's in New York, for chrissakes. Besides, he's already secured his family for generations.
The only reason to count it now is to keep status-score.
Durant simply chose to go to a happy place.
And everybody's got their own happy place.
What's interesting is George wasn't Leonard's first choice as a combo. Durant was.
Not a bad Plan B, though:
Never forget the face Kawhi made when PG was guarding him in March 😆 pic.twitter.com/hxXXjy0g8p— ESPN (@espn) July 6, 2019
It was also clear from the beginning that the Clippers were his desired destination. Leonard's nothing if not well-grounded. Dude sees the stability that Steve Ballmer's mega-dosh has brought to the Clips as opposed to the ego-mess that is the Lakers right now.
The other beneficiary of Leonard's calculations is Oklahoma City.
Once he got an agreement with George, he secured a commitment from the Clips to do whatever it took to get him and then confirmed to George the time was right to make his trade demand from the Thunder.
And what a haul they got from a Clips' front office that had little choice but to say yes or see Leonard re-sign with the Raptors:
Over the past few seasons, though, there's been one constant in OKC's ring-chasing:
All of Westbrook's former teammates will have made it further in the playoffs after leaving his team— Pinwheel Empire (@pinwheelempire) July 6, 2019
Seems like not every NBA player can find a buddy.