Kawhi Leonard
John Raoux/AP Photo

The Los Angeles Clippers just shifted the power dynamic in the NBA by signing Kawhi Leonard and trading for Paul George, according to reports.

Geoff Magliocchetti

Kawhi Leonard, he with a reputation of killing NBA dynasties, may have ended one in Los Angeles before it ever got started.

The 2019 NBA Finals MVP seemed destined to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis at Staples Center. Leonard will indeed head to Los Angeles, but as a member of the Clippers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Another Wojnarowski report revealed that the Clippers agreed to a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder that will attain fellow All-Star Paul George.

Wojnarowski said Oklahoma City’s haul in the George deal will be four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first rounder, and two pick swaps as well as Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Simply put, the Thunder received a major haul for George.

Yet another report stated that Leonard had been personally recruiting George to join him in Los Angeles.

Leonard’s decision was reportedly down to the Los Angeles pair and his previous employers in Toronto. He averaged a career-high 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds for the NBA champion Raptors. A historic Finals saw him put up 28.5 points and 9.8 assists over a six-game set, where the Raptors triumphed over the Golden State Warriors. It marked the first championship for an NBA squad based outside the United States and denied Golden State their fourth title in five seasons.

The championship was the second of Leonard’s career. He previously earned a ring with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, when they defeated James and the Miami Heat in five games. He was likewise named MVP of that series, as he averaged 23.7 points over the final three games, all wins. At 22, he was the youngest Finals MVP since the award’s debut in 1969.

Meanwhile, George earned 28.0 PPG last season, and led the league in steals with 170. His Oklahoma City tenure ends at two seasons, both of which ended in the West’s first-round. They were defeated in five games by the eventual finalists from Portland this season.

The Clippers are coming off a 48-34 season, good for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They were defeated in six games by Golden State. Notable returnees include leading scorer Lou Williams (20.0 PPG) and Patrick Beverley (5.0 RPG).

This should certainly intensify the Los Angeles basketball rivalry, one that has been historically one-sided in favor of the Lakers. Rumors persisted throughout the internet prior to Wojnarowski’s report that Leonard would join a budding “superteam” with James and Davis. The Lakers are in the midst of a six-year playoff drought, tied for the third-longest active streak with the New York Knicks. Both L.A. teams use Staples Center as their home arena.

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