It’s still incredible to think that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are now Clippers. Here are the gut reactions of Clips Nation staffers on the Leonard signing and the George trade (though the two are inexorably linked).
Kawhi Leonard coming to the Clippers is a product of a year-long effort, potentially longer, by this front office. Although his signing is a coup, it doesn’t overwhelm me. This process was in motion for a long time; everyone knew it, and the Clippers arguably entered the offseason as favorites to land Leonard. Getting Leonard is relatively normal free-agency business.
Trading for Paul George? That is a masterstroke by this front office. The Clippers have been meticulously gathering assets over the past few months, putting themselves in position for when the next disgruntled superstar entered the trading block. But the swiftness and secrecy with which they executed this move is mind-blowing. Nobody knew George was available, and somehow the kid who grew up a Clipper fan ended up on the Clippers, forming the best wing combination in the league.
The Clippers should be the best team in the league next year. It’s that simple. The depth, the star power, the coaching - it’s all second to none. I cannot wait to watch this team in action.
The Clippers front office does it again. Like ninjas in the night. This was an absolutely epic deal, and actually not all that surprising. The franchise has been working towards a deal of this magnitude for the last three years. I am slightly concerned with what the Clippers had to give up to get the deal done, but they really had no other choice. The opportunity to sign two max players in their prime does not present itself every off-season. Importantly, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are elite players who fit the current Clippers’ culture, perhaps better than any other elite players in the league. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
There is still work to be done of course. Although the Clippers’ perimeter defense is going to be fire, and the offense just got a big lift, there are holes to fill. With the loss of fan-favorite Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Clippers lose depth at the point guard position. This is a concern with Patrick Beverley’s history of knee injuries and how hard he hits the floor night after night. The roster could also benefit from a solid, athletic rim defender. An in-the-paint protector is something the Clippers have sorely missed since losing DeAndre Jordan. I trust the Clippers have more moves to make and look forward to those announcements.
I still need some time to let it sink in that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George now play for the LA Clippers. It’s crazy enough that they’re arguably the two greatest two-way players in the league, but it’s even crazier that they’re both hometown talents. Two superstar talents, who both grew up in southern California, will now lead a deep and exciting roster for many years to come.
Not enough can be said, however, about what it took to get to this place. Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer, Lawrence Frank, and Jerry West laid a solid foundation to make this all possible. But the talent and excitement of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, all traded away over the course of two years, all made it possible to acquire the talent the Clippers now have. And let’s not forget about Ralph Lawler, who, for decades, always made fans excited for what was happening and what was yet to come.
The best is, indeed, yet to come. And there’s still so much hard work that lies ahead. But it feels like, for the first time in this city’s history, the Clippers have finally arrived.
Elation, jubilation. Pretty much all the positive-ations, and a lot of jumping up and down and a lot of saying f*#% the Lakers at 2 am, waking up my roommates in a hotel in Rhode Island I’m staying at for the Fourth of July weekend.
This means that the Clippers are in the drivers seat in contention for an NBA championship, and will be the best team, on paper, in the league. This is the first time that has ever happened. This is franchise changing, and even life changing for me, and life changing as well for many many other Clippers fans who have had to deal with sooooo much BS and bad luck over the years.
My expectations are truly championship or bust, and they should be for everyone. Now is the time to truly take over L.A. and rub it every purple and gold fan’s face.
Acquiring Leonard was an expected outcome for me, at least to some degree, but George being the player Leonard targeted to join him, the Thunder being willing to deal him, and the haul it took for the Clippers to make it happen makes for an astonishing outcome. It’s funny. In Robert’s “second star” trade column, he listed George as an afterthought. I totally agreed with the other four on the list but George seemed like an outrageous inclusion. Obviously, it was on the money to have George on the list.
For the Clippers, dealing so many assets, including many of our personal hope conduits in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, was a must. Keeping Leonard away from the Lakers aside (which is awesome in its own right), this was the best possible basketball move they could make. In a league geared around elite wings, they have two of the best from last year, both in their primes, and locked in for the next three years. With the talent around George and Leonard, the Clippers are clearly among the league’s best three teams. Any questions about George’s unwillingness to be a true Alpha won’t matter because he’ll have the reigning Finals MVP alongside him. It’s going to be awesome.
Their defensive versatility will rival the best of the Warriors over the last five years and they will have just an incredible number of options offensively. Again, it’s going to be AWESOME.
I guess I’m going to have to learn how to say “RINGZZZZZ” just right. These aren’t your same old Clippers anymore. For the most verbose Clippers writer out there, I really don’t have many words today.
I’m shocked. I still can’t believe they pulled this off. Yes, I will miss Shai so much and will continue to follow him, but for once the Clippers can be comfortably called title favorites. And, I can’t believe I’m letting myself say this, but as of now that’s what I’m expecting. Right now, on paper, this is the best team in the NBA.
Steve Ballmer and the Clippers’ front office really, really went for it. And for good reason. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers have two of the best 10 players in the NBA, with some argument to be made for two in the top 7. Both players are in their primes, at the absolute peak of their powers. Importantly, the Clippers also have highly competent, experienced veterans in place around George and Kawhi, as well as some cheap, talented youth. The Clippers are still a bit weak in some spots (point guard depth, rim-protecting big man), but they have all the makings of a title contender, and are set up to be one for years to come. Masterful work by the Clippers’ front office for doing what needed to be done, and doing it in complete secrecy. Bravo.