News ID: 255380
Published: 0227 GMT July 06, 2019

Leonard tops big NBA free agency moves

Leonard tops big NBA free agency moves
nba.com

Kawhi Leonard left reigning NBA champions the Toronto Raptors just three weeks after winning the title in the most dramatic move of the NBA free agency.

On Saturday, during what is the NBA's equivalent of football's transfer window, Leonard joined the Los Angeles Clippers alongside Paul George, who was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder, BBC Sport reported.

That immediately saw the Clippers tipped for next season's title.

Leonard has just proved he can turn a decent team into a title winner in Toronto and the Clippers have long been a suitor for the reigning finals MVP's services, but no one saw this happening the way it did.

The Clippers started the week with enough room in the salary cap to sign two superstars, but when everyone else was snapped up in the space of a few hours last Sunday night, conventional wisdom was that Leonard would either link up with LeBron James and the newly-acquired Anthony Davis at the Los Angeles Lakers, or stay in Toronto to defend the title.

Instead, it was being reported Leonard told the Clippers if they could prise All-Star forward Paul George away from the Thunder, he was in.

The Clippers had to give up an unprecedented amount to make it happen – five first-round draft picks over the next seven years, plus one of their top scorers last season in Danilo Gallinari, and their best young prospect in Shai-Gilgeous Alexander.

Leonard then agreed to a four-year £113-million deal.

The significance of Leonard having the option to join the Lakers and James, and instead choosing to go up against them – in the Staples Center, the arena the two teams share – is hard to overstate. For the majority of their existence the Clippers have been a punchline in Los Angeles.

With Leonard and George, they'll be one of the favorites for the NBA title, and have set up a city rivalry the likes of which the NBA has never seen before.

Hollywood, grab the popcorn.

 

 

   
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