Lakers reportedly feel they were ‘played’ by Kawhi Leonard
Now that Kawhi Leonard has signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, the general consensus seems to be that the cross-town rival Lakers never had an actual chance at the NBA Finals MVP. For whatever reason, they didn’t seem to realize that throughout the free agency process.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his podcast this week that the Lakers feel like they were “played” by Leonard. The Toronto Raptors aren’t thrilled with how the process went down, either.
“I’ve heard complaints in the days after the signing. I heard complaints from the Lakers that they got played,” Windhorst said, via Jorge Alonso of Bro Bible. “I heard complaints from the Raptors that Kawhi came in and asked for the sun, the moon, the stars then left them at the altar.”
Why it took the Lakers so long to realize that they were likely being used as a pawn is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps they should have listened to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who said from the start that Leonard was deciding between returning to Toronto and signing with the Clippers.
Leonard just put the Raptors on his back and carried them to their first title in franchise history. He has proven without a doubt that he can be the No. 1 guy on a team, so it never made any sense for him to join forces with LeBron James. What most likely happened is that Leonard needed to use the Lakers to put more pressure on the Clippers to trade for Paul George, and it worked.
There have been some theories that Leonard sabotaged the Lakers’ entire offseason, and it sounds like some within the organization might subscribe to those.