Kawhi Leonard, Paul George headed to Clippers in blockbuster move
The LA Clippers pulled off the biggest moves of the NBA summer as they have completely remade their roster with a couple of true superstar players.
Kawhi Leonard has decided to sign with the Clippers, word emerged on Friday night via Yahoo’s Chris Haynes. At the same time ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Clippers acquired Paul George in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Woj says Danilo Gallinari and 2018 first-round pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are being traded to the Thunder, along with a record package of future draft picks. The draft picks include four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps, according to Woj.
That is a massive haul of picks, but it was worth it to the Clippers to pair together two of the best two-way players in the league. They’re also keeping most of their supporting cast together, which gives them a true championship contender.
They have reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, whose contract they guaranteed for the 2020-2021 season. They re-signed Patrick Beverley earlier in free agency. Montrezl Harrell, Jerome Robinson, Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder and Sindarius Thornwell are other players under contract with the team. They also acquired Moe Harkless in a trade this offseason.
The Clippers now have the reigning NBA Finals MVP, and a player who was a finalist for NBA MVP and NBA Defensive Player of the Year in George. Between that star power and their team in place, the Clippers have to be the favorites to win it all next season.
Despite both players recently dealing with injuries, they have plenty of prime years left. Leonard is 28 while George is 29. Leonard only played in nine games two seasons ago due to his quad injury. He played in 60 regular season games last season while managing his return from the injury. George played hurt during the playoffs but has been expected to undergo surgeries on each of his shoulders this offseason. He had rotator cuff surgery to repair a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder. George was also set to undergo surgery to repair a small tear in the labrum of his left shoulder.