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Monday, July 13, 2020

Report: Kawhi Leonard originally tried to recruit Kevin Durant to Clippers

Kawhi Leonard successfully recruited Paul George to seek a trade and join him on the Los Angeles Clippers, but George was reportedly not the first star player Leonard sought to play with.

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Leonard called Kevin Durant days before NBA free agency opened and asked him to join him in Los Angeles and sign with the Clippers. Sources close to Durant called him “flattered and a little stunned” to receive a recruiting call from a player who he didn’t know well, but it made a positive impression.

By this point, however, Durant was already planning on joining the Brooklyn Nets to play with close friends Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan, and he chose to stick to that plan. Leonard turned his attention to George, a player with whom he shared many similarities, and successfully convinced him to demand a trade to the Clippers. George was impressed with Leonard’s recruiting effort as well, with a source calling him “a hell of a recruiter” despite his quiet demeanor.

It seems that the report about Durant and Leonard discussing joining forces was the truth. What we didn’t know at the time was that Durant was already plotting his move to Brooklyn in spite of Leonard’s efforts, and Leonard, it seems, always had his heart set on playing for the Clippers despite the multitude of rumors stating that either the Toronto Raptors or rival Lakers were the frontrunners.

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