Kawhi Leonard was THE acquisition of NBA Summer season Free Company.
Some thought he’d be part of the Lakers, some thought he’d stick with the Raptors after which there have been the choose group of parents that had the intestine instincts to predicate that he’d be part of the Los Angeles Clippers, which he did.
Now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, Leonard joins Paul George, Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac, Landry Shamet and Maurice Harkless on a loaded LA group.
Coached by Doc Rivers, the group is potent. They went toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors on this spring’s NBA Playoffs.
“I didn’t know,” NBA Corridor of Famer, Shaquille O’Neal informed me throughout a press convention to announce his endorsement cope with Epson.
“I came upon when all people else came upon. However once I noticed he was signing with the Clippers, one man: Jerry West.”
Ah, sure…Jerry West; the NBA’s emblem!
The NBA Corridor of Famer, NBA Champion and 14-time NBA All Star has been the architect of many pivotal offers as common supervisor of the Los Angeles Lakers.
For these tardy to the get together: In his entrance workplace function, West is sort of accountable for creating the nice 1980s Lakers dynasty, which introduced 5 championship rings (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988) to the purple and gold.
He was additionally integral for the Lakers’ success within the 90s and 2000s alo.
West traded Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets on NBA Draft Day in 1996 in a deal that introduced Kobe Bryant to LA LA land.
He additionally signed O’Neal to the Lakers and introduced Phil Jackson to LA as their head coach, as nicely.
At the moment a particular guide with the Los Angeles Clippers, West lately informed the Dan Patrick Present that he had a “very small” function within the Los Angeles Clippers’ signing of Kawhi Leonard.
However, Leonard signed a three-year, $103 million contract with the opposite LA group and recruited Paul George who waved goodbye to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder by demanding to be shipped out to LA through OKC.
An enormous summer time for the Clippers, certainly.
That made The Large Diesel, The Large Shaqtus, The Large Aristotle; no matter Shaq us calling himself nowadays keep in mind when he left the Orlando Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“All Jerry West did was inform the reality,” Shaq informed me.
“So once I was leaving Orlando, he introduced me right here and informed me the reality. I’d have a younger group and a man named Kobe. That man’s going to be good however in a few years you’re going to have championships. It wasn’t no ‘get you this or get you that.’ Jerry’s not that sort of man.”
Shaq even laid out how Jerry West most likely bought Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers:
“Jerry most likely mentioned: ‘I’m engaged on a deal to get you Paul George. You’ve seen what the group did final 12 months. You understand what sort of man Doc is. That is your hometown. We want to have you ever.’”
That’s seemingly what bought Kawhi Leonard to decide to the Clippers after successful an NBA Championship final month with the Toronto Raptors. Virtually a 12 months in the past, the San Antonio Spurs shipped Leonard to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan.
A 12 months later, Leonard has his second NBA Championship and second NBA Finals MVP on his second group.
Now on his third group, right here’s the billion greenback query: Is 3 times the attraction?
Properly it begins with infrastructure.
The Clippers earned the respect of many. “I get pleasure from going to Clippers’ video games,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne informed Scoop B Radio this spring.
“I believe the Clippers are top-of-the-line watches within the NBA. They play laborious, they’ve an ideal system, they’re at all times working collectively, you don’t see folks ball-hogging it, they usually have this pick-and-roll between Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams.
“I believe Lou Williams is enjoyable, Montrezl is likely to be one among my favourite gamers nowadays, he’s a extremely good dude, didn’t know he had all that type of offensive sport when he got here into the league, proper? Such as you see this vitality man, however he performs laborious.”
Jerry West does have a particular consultancy function with the Clippers, the credentials of these throughout the Clippers’ entrance workplace is sort of ample.
Insert LA Clipper President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank, group common supervisor Michael Winger and assistant common managers Mark Hughes and Trent Redden.
That’s lots of expertise. Whether or not West had the ultimate say within the resolution making and recruiting course of, he has the respect of many. “Jerry could be very sincere,” Shaq informed me.
“Kawhi appears to be a man who loves honesty. Gregg Popovich could be very sincere and really open. So Jerry and Pop are related. He most likely spoke Kawhi’s language. So I came upon when all people else came upon. I assumed he was going to the Lakers or the Knicks or presumably keep in Toronto however once I noticed he was signing with the Clippers all I knew was, good transfer Jerry West.”