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Report: Kawhi Leonard tried to recruit Kyrie Irving to Clippers

Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 26: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles the ball as Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics defends during the second half of an NBA game at Scotiabank Arena on February 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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Kawhi Leonard convinced Paul George to request a trade from the Thunder and join him on the Clippers. Leonard also tried to pitch Kevin Durant on the Clippers.

Another Leonard target: Kyrie Irving.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

He recruited George, Durant and even Kyrie Irving at points, sources say.

Durant and Irving reportedly decided before last season to play together. They reportedly chose the Nets months ago.

So, Leonard was fighting an uphill battle.

I wonder whether there was any talk of both Durant and Irving joining Leonard on the Clippers. Even with an empty roster, L.A. wouldn’t have had enough cap space to give all three max contracts. But Irving took less than his fully guaranteed max salary, and the Clippers could have gained spending power by acquiring Durant through a sign-and-trade (like Brooklyn did). The Clippers didn’t have a D’Angelo Russell to send the Warriors, but perhaps L.A. could’ve unloaded salary elsewhere and enticed Golden State with a the creation of a huge trade exception.

Getting even one obviously didn’t happen, but it’s interesting to know how wide Leonard looked for a co-star. George is a great get.