Kawhi Leonard finally has made his free-agent decision.
The reigning NBA Finals MVP has elected to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers on a four-year deal worth $142 million, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Contracts and trades agreed to since NBA free agency opened June 30 won't become official until July 6 at 12:00 p.m.
Leonard was the last superstar in free agency to decide his future. The Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors were rumored to be the other teams the 28-year-old forward was considering joining, and he reportedly had meetings with all three.
Leonard was traded to the Raptors from the San Antonio Spurs in July of last year. He helped lead the Raptors to their first championship in team history with a five-game triumph over the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. He averaged 26.6 points per game for the Raptors in the 2018-19 regular season and 30.5 points in the playoffs.
In addition to landing Leonard, the Clippers were able to swing a deal to bring a second superstar to Los Angeles. Per Wojnarowski, they reportedly agreed to trade Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and a treasure trove of draft capital to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George. Leonard reportedly had recruited George to join the Clippers, and George asked the Thunder to be traded to play alongside Leonard. That duo should make the Clippers very competitive in the Western Conference.
Here's the draft pick haul the Thunder are getting from the Clippers for George, per ESPN's Bobby Marks:
This is a staggering price (but worth it) for Kawhi Leonard + Paul George:— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 6, 2019
2021 Miami (unprotected)
2022 LAC (unprotected)
2023 Miami (top 14 prot.)
2023 pick swap
2024 LAC (unprotected)
2025 pick swap
2026 LAC (unprotected)
It will be interesting to see how Leonard's choice impacts the other free agents still unsigned. Danny Green, who played with Leonard in Toronto last season, has already agreed to a two-year, $30 million deal with the Lakers. Versatile forward Marcus Morris, who played well for the Boston Celtics in each of the last two seasons, arguably is the best unrestricted free agent remaining.
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