Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Kawhi Leonard stunned the NBA early Saturday morning, committing to the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency and bringing Oklahoma City star Paul George along with him.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard pushed the Clippers to obtain George via trade. The Clippers sent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Galinari, four unprotected first picks, one protected first round pick and two protected first rounders in exchange for George. Wow.
This likely leaves the Lakers without a star to add to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It will be interesting to see which way the Lakers go with their remaining max cap space.
From a Nets perspective, it certainly helps that Leonard went to the Western Conference. That leaves one less star to deal with in the Eastern Conference. But the Clippers summer certainly rivals their signings of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
From a Knicks perspective, they're probably happy that Leonard made a long-term commitment to the Clippers rather than the Raptors. They felt they would be able to get a meeting with Leonard but they were a long shot to land him. So they reportedly walked away from the meeting.
In a big-picture sense, Brooklyn and the two Los Angeles teams are incredibly talented and prepared to compete for titles.The Knicks are looking at a long-term rebuild and Saturday's move may just reinforce the idea that they should be looking at a long-term approach in their rebuild rather than a quick fix since the stars have aligned this summer in other cities.
Saturday's signing of Leonard and trade for George is also another indication that strong organizational culture and young talent are more appealing than legacy franchises to star players. Leonard, Durant and Irving chose the Clippers and Nets, respectively, over the bigger franchises in town.
Something else to note: if the Knicks are setting themselves up to be in position to trade for another star, you'd think that Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook may become available. Oklahoma City has a ton of tools to rebuild with in the wake of the Clippers trade.