NBA rumors: New Clippers star Kawhi Leonard recruited Kyrie Irving in free agency

NBA rumors: New Clippers star Kawhi Leonard recruited Kyrie Irving in free agency

Paul George will be Kawhi Leonard's superstar teammate on the Los Angeles Clippers next season, and it turns out the reigning NBA Finals MVP recruited several stars before making his free agency decision. 

The Clippers landed Leonard on a four-year max contract and pulled off a stunning trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to acquire George over the weekend, instantly vaulting the franchise atop most oddsmakers' list of the top NBA title contenders for the 2019-20 season.

ESPN's Zach Lowe reported Monday that included in Leonard's recruiting efforts was former Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving, who ultimately decided to take his talents to the Brooklyn Nets and team up with Kevin Durant.

In one backroom power move, Kawhi Leonard rescued Paul George from a capped-out low-level playoff team; rejected the Lakers' attempts to build perhaps the greatest big three in basketball history; and left the league as open as it has been in years. The league's quietest superstar "found his voice," as one executive put it. He recruited George, Durant and even Kyrie Irving at points, sources say.

An Irving/Leonard pairing would've been a lot of fun to watch. Irving enjoyed plenty of success in his three seasons as LeBron James' teammate on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Leonard is a similar type of player to James in terms of being a versatile, all-around machine capable of dominating at both ends of the court.

It's unknown how intensely Leonard recruited Irving, but the All-Star guard reportedly agreed to sign with the Nets on a four-year, $141 million max deal soon after free agency began at 6 p.m. ET on June 30. 

Leonard's decision wasn't reported until the early hours of Saturday morning, long after all the top free agents had agreed to new contracts with teams. As a result, the Clippers' only path toward pairing Leonard with another superstar was via trade, and they paid a historically high price, including five first-round draft picks (plus pick swaps), to acquire George. 

Irving is very talented, but after the way he failed as a leader for the Celtics last season, the Clippers likely will be better off with George as Leonard's co-star.

Click here for a list of the best remaining NBA free agents>>>

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Report: NBA to launch 2K tournament, each team will have player representative

Report: NBA to launch 2K tournament, each team will have player representative

It looks like eSports' time to shine is finally here.

With all the major sports leagues on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA has come up with a creative solution to create some new basketball-based programming.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the league will be hosting a players-only NBA 2K tournament on Friday and it will air on a major network. Additionally, Haynes is reporting that each team is planning to have a player gamer involved with the tournament.

This is a good way for the league to create some new basketball-related excitement with the season currently suspended. It will certainly be fun to see how players who are so good on the basketball court can fare in the realm of basketball video games.

Of course, if every team does have a player representative set to play on Friday night, that means a member of the Boston Celtics will be in action. The ideal fit for the team would be Gordon Hayward, as he's an avid gamer and would almost certainly be able to lead the 2K Celtics to some victories.

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If Hayward isn't the choice, Grant Williams would be another logical option. He disclosed to NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely that he loves playing video games on an episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast shortly after he was drafted.

No matter who is running the Celtics team, it will be entertaining to watch NBA players square off against each other again, even if it is just in some 2K action.

And speaking of 2K action, be sure to check out our latest Celtics simulation. The 2K-C's took on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night as they looked to keep their winning streak alive.

How well does 21-year-old Jayson Tatum compare to 21-year-old Michael Jordan?

How well does 21-year-old Jayson Tatum compare to 21-year-old Michael Jordan?

We know that Jayson Tatum is on the path to NBA stardom. But is he on a similar pace to one of the greatest players ever to play the game, Michael Jordan?

You be the judge.

Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf) checked out the statistical comparison between Jayson Tatum and Michael Jordan during their 21-year-old seasons. And when looking at the numbers on a per 36-minute basis, they were relatively close in most major categories.

In addition to the numbers pictured, Tatum averaged 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.9 blocks per 36 as a 21-year-old. Meanwhile, Jordan got 5.5 assists, 2.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks per 36.

So, Jordan edged Tatum in most categories, save for Tatum's rebounding advantage and his ever-so-slight blocks advantage. Of course, it's worth noting that Jordan entered the league as a 21-year-old rookie, so he had no NBA experience while he put up these excellent numbers. Tatum had 143 games of regular-season experience and 19 games of playoff experience before his 21st birthday.

Regardless, the point is that Tatum is still developing very well and the fact that his numbers can even be comparable to one of the NBA's all-time greats is an excellent sign. He should continue to progress and should soon be one of the top players in the NBA if he continues on his current trajectory.

Tatum may not reach Jordan level. Few ever do. But the stats indicate that he's on the right track very early on in his career.

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