The Los Angeles Clippers are a joke no more. On Friday night, the franchise made a true power move, acquiring Paul George via trade and convincing Kawhi Leonard to sign a max contract. While the ground was rocking in Los Angeles thanks to a massive Friday night, the Clippers shook the very foundations of the NBA.
The initial reports suggest Leonard and George met and discussed teaming up. George then went to the Oklahoma City Thunder and demanded a trade. With little recourse, OKC worked out a deal that included a massive haul of assets. They received Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a huge package of future draft picks. In return, the Clippers got the bait they needed to lure Kawhi.
Everything about this is shocking. The Clippers are suddenly a glamorous franchise that must be accounted for. Even during the “Lob City” days, there was something goofy and off about the team. There’s nothing silly about a lineup that will include Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Maurice Harkless and more.
That roster could enter the 2019-20 season as NBA title favorites.
Credit for this ridiculous turn of events has to go to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank and adviser Jerry West. They played this perfectly by clearing cap space and acquiring tradeable assets.
In the end, it appears Leonard wanted to create a super team, not just join one. He played his cards right and landed back at home in LA on a team where he’ll be the unquestioned leader.
The NBA was rocked by the Clippers Friday night. When was the last time anyone could say that?