Fans of the Los Angeles Clippers are in for a big surprise this morning as they landed not one, but two All-Star players to their roster.
Reported from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers made the trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring in star Paul George for a massive draft pick haul, which cleared space to sign the defending fellow star forward and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to a four-year, $142 million max contract.
Oklahoma City is trading All-Star Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for a record-setting collection of draft choices, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
Sources: As expected, Kawhi Leonard: four-year, $142M maximum contract.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
In return for the Paul George trade, Oklahoma City will be getting five future first-round picks (four unprotected and one protected).
Those picks include him players in guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and forward Danillo Gallinari.
The transactions by the Clippers were part of a big free agency period this week that included the Brooklyn Nets landing, guard Kyrie Irving, former NBA and NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, and center DeAndre Jordan.
According to Wojnarowski and his sources, George and Leonard both met in Los Angeles earlier this week.
The Clippers were front runners for Leonard and the player wanted to play with George. As a result, the team wouldn’t completed the move without trading for George first.
In the end, Kawhi Leonard didn't want to construct a Super Team with the Lakers. He wanted a co-star across the Staples corridor with the Clippers, and made it clear to Steve Ballmer and Lawrence Frank: Get PG, and I'm coming.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
As a six-time NBA All-Star, George comes to the Clippers after spending three seasons partnering up with point guard Russell Westbrook with the Thunder.
He contributed 28.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season with the team.
Leonard spent his lone season with the Raptors scoring 26.6 points per game and helped the team to the first NBA title last month.
He would go on to be named as NBA Finals MVP for the second time in his career (also won in 2013-14 with the San Antonio Spurs).
Even though Leonard played only one season in Toronto, the Raptors fanbase give him a pleasant tribute, thanking him for helping their first NBA championship.
Kawhi never asked to be in Toronto.— ty (@Ieafsdiehard) July 6, 2019
Kawhi never wanted to play in Toronto.
He made the most of his time, and poured every ounce of his being into the team during his short tenure. Now, all hes doing is continuing his career the way he initially planned.
Even the current mayor of Toronto, John Tory, gave him a message video for his time with the Raptors.