After weeks of speculation and six long days of waiting after NBA free agency opened on Sunday, Kawhi Leonard is signing with the Los Angeles Clippers.
With Kevin Durant’s health an uncertainty after an Achilles tear in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Leonard was the most coveted name in free agency after leading the Raptors to their first-ever NBA title and ascending to superstardom during the 2018-19 playoffs, establishing himself as perhaps the best player in the league in the process. A three-time All-NBA selection and one of the league’s elite perimeter defenders, Leonard was the driving force of an unlikely Toronto title win in his sole season north of the border.
A pair of Los Angeles natives, Leonard and George have been repeatedly floated as candidates to join James and the Lakers over the last year, but are instead teaming up in the Staples Center’s other home locker room to quickly make the Clippers a serious contender to come out of the Western Conference and vie for a title.
Doc Rivers now has two superstars in Leonard and George to form a core with Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrel, adding two of the league’s very best to a team that took two games from the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2019 playoffs.
The package the Clippers put together for George may be more draft capital and assets than any team has ever given up to get a star, but in pairing Leonard and George, have suddenly catapulted themselves to the very top of the NBA’s title favorites.