Clippers going all-out with recruitment of Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant
The Los Angeles Clippers have been one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season, but some members of their front office have not been present the majority of the time to witness their hot start in person. Instead, they are too busy trying to lay the groundwork for a dynasty.
With the Clippers off to a 17-10 start, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports that they are going all-out to prepare themselves at making a run at both Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard this offseason. Windhorst writes that L.A. been “treating the two like college recruits,” with Raptors officials saying they have noticed a Clippers employee at roughly 75 percent of Toronto’s games this season. Executives from the Clippers have also been spotted at many Golden State Warriors games that did not involve L.A.
While teams can’t actively recruit players who are under contract, the Clippers obviously want to be noticed by Durant and Leonard. One of the executives that has been attending many of Leonard’s and Durant’s games is president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, and Windhorst notes that people that high up in the front office almost never attend games that don’t involve their own team.
The Clippers have several players under team-friendly contracts, and they have two max slots available with Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan no longer in the picture. They are hoping to fill them with Durant and Leonard, and the idea may not be all that far-fetched if L.A. reaches the postseason with what they currently have.
The assumption all along has been that Leonard won’t re-sign with the Raptors, even if he is enjoying his time in Toronto more than he expected. Durant previously seemed like a lock to remain with the Warriors, but his feud with Draymond Green may have changed things.
Leonard has always been linked to Los Angeles, and the Clippers would make sense for him if the reports about him not wanting to team up with LeBron James are true. Whatever the case, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is not going to be out-hustled by the competition this offseason. If his team is unable to sign two premier free agents, it won’t be due to a lack of effort.