Friday night in the NBA was abruptly jarred by an earthquake, then the league was rocked by one of the biggest free agency decisions in league history. The Kawhi Leonard free agency radio silence was shattered by the news that the Los Angeles Clippers had won the Leonard sweepstakes, and they did so by making a big splash on the trade market.
Reports flew early Saturday morning on the east coast that the Clippers had acquired All-Star forward Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a massive deal that involved multiple picks and players, and it was George who Leonard hoped to pair with in Los Angeles.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly afterward that once George learned Leonard wanted to play with him, he approached the Thunder and requested a trade, setting the series of events in motion that unfolded late Friday night.
Wojnarowski later reported that both George and Leonard met in Los Angeles earlier in the week and put things into motion.
To say the move is a seismic shift in the Western Conference and NBA at large is about as big an understatement as you can imagine. Just a year ago, George surprised Los Angeles hoops fans and announced he was staying in Oklahoma City after spending a year there following a trade from Indiana. Kawhi Leonard, too, spent a (more successful) year with another team before entering free agency for himself, with similar rumors about his desire to play in Los Angeles following him around.
Now, it appears that both are headed to Los Angeles to play not with LeBron James and Paul George, but as another equally fascinating duo with the Clippers.