A report has recently come out from Sam Amick and The Athletic about the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes that happened in this past offseason. The most shocking (reported) revelation that came out of the piece was that Kawhi Leonard’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, may have asked for lavish requests from the Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors, that included a private plane and a house.
In regards to the specific request with the Los Angeles Clippers, a league conducted a formal investigation of the Clippers to ensure that the team had not granted any of these requests proposed by Uncle Dennis. There was no wrongdoing found by the league.
However, Jeanie Buss and the Lakers still reportedly feel “frustration” with how they were treated in free agency by Kawhi, Dennis, and their entire camp. Below, Sam Amick/The Athletic talks about how those lavish requests between Dennis Robertson and Jeanie Buss prompted Buss to feel as if the Lakers were being used as leverage:
Those uncomfortable discussions with Robertson, along with Buss’ growing sense at the time that the Lakers were being used as leverage to help Leonard get what he wanted out of the Clippers, are at the heart of the frustration that remains to this day.
Jeanie Buss’ thinking here is pretty logical if you think about it. Ultimately, there was a decision behind the scenes that led to Paul George being traded to the Clippers from the Oklahoma City Thunder, which prompted Kawhi to immediately sign with the team since they were officially the championship contender that he wanted. What’s the best way to convince the Clippers to cough up the assets to trade for George? Threaten them with the possibility of Kawhi signing with their rivals across the hallway, the Los Angeles Lakers. Signing Kawhi would have given the Lakers a big three of Kawhi, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, leaving the Clippers without Kawhi or (most likey) George.
From Amick’s piece, it sure seems like the Lakers and Buss are still frustrated with how the entire situation played out, adding another layer to this potential rivalry between the two clubs. This is all perfect timing, as the Lakers and Clippers will soon be battling on the biggest NBA regular season stage, Christmas Day.
Who’s ready for tip-off?