Kawhi Leonard says he was “very close” to choosing Lakers, Raptors instead of the Clippers

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
July 24, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers players Paul George and Kawhi Leonard react before being introduced to media at Green Meadows Recreation Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As the NBA offseason rolls on, a bunch of the NBA superstars who are in new places will be getting introduced with their new organizations. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Clippers had the opportunity to introduce their two new superstars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Paul George joins the team after asking for a trade out of Oklahoma City, only one year into a four-year deal. He did so to specifically join Kawhi Leonard, who of course signed with the Clippers after a free agency where he was also rumored to possibly join LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as possibly returning to the Toronto Raptors where he won the 2019 NBA Finals. Leonard and George both joined Rachel Nichols of ESPN after their introductory press conference, where Leonard stated that he was actually pretty close to joining either the Lakers or Raptors over the Clippers.

Some have said that Leonard wanted to join the Clippers all along and that all he needed was one other star to make the Clippers a viable contender. That may be true, but Leonard definitely indicates that the Lakers and/or Raptors had a real chance.

Leonard stating that the Lakers may have actually had a chance comes after it was reported that Magic Johnson may have taken away any chances the Lakers had early. This was reportedly due to Johnson leaking information about conversations with Leonard about joining the Lakers, as it was rumored that Leonard wanted all three organizations to keep as much of the process under wraps as possible.

The Los Angeles Lakers sadly can’t hang a banner for “being close to signing Kawhi Leonard”. They will, however, try to hang their 17th banner in the 2019-2020 season, but will have to fight through the Clippers and the rest of the Western Conference to get to that point.

Leave a Reply