How Kawhi Leonard Signing to the Clippers Shakes up the Whole NBA
Over night, news broke out that Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard informed the Los Angeles Clippers that he would be signing with them. About thirty minutes later, news also broke out that MVP candidate Paul George requested a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to join Kawhi on the Clippers.
This shocked many NBA fans including myself, as it looked like George loved Westbrook like a brother on and off the court. This was something straight out of left field and nobody was looking.
Rumor has it that Leonard and George had been talking about this since the start in free agency teaming up, and only one team could take both of their contracts: Clippers.
Now, we will look into what teams got mostly shaken up by this, these being the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, and the Utah Jazz. I am choosing to do these teams mainly due to the fact that most of them are/were top contenders in the Eastern or Western conferences. I am also choosing to do some teams like the Raptors as that is where Kawhi was as is the same thing for the Thunder.
Los Angeles Lakers
Many people thought that Kawhi would make the next great big three on the Lakers with LeBron James and newly acquired Anthony Davis, but that did not turn out. Kawhi has stated that he doesn't want to join elite talent, he wants to make it on his own.
This is partially why the Lakers failed, they put all of their eggs in one basket for a star free agent, who they missed out on and now have to spend that max slot on role players.
Although striking out on Kawhi, the Lakers did get solid players to round out there roster. Down below is a list of all the players and what they are mainly known for.
- Jared Dudley- Stretch Four
- Rajon Rondo- Elite Playmaker
- JaVale Mcgee- Rim Protector
- Quinn Cook- Average Point Guard
- DeMarcus Cousins- Above Average Center
- Danny Green- 3&D Wing
Oklahoma City Thunder
After trading Paul George, a MVP finalist to the Los Angeles Clippers, this is screaming rebuild for the Thunder. To deal off George, the Thunder got four unprotected first round picks, one protected first round pick, and two swap best picks. They also got a promising young player in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and borderline all star Danillo Gallinari in return.
This also signals that former MVP and franchise player, Russell Westbrook is on the trade block. Since Kevin Durant left, even though Russ has been putting up insane numbers, he hasn't pushed the Thunder past the first round of the playoffs since.
Possible landing spots for Westbrook include Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, or even the Orlando Magic. Expect a full tear down of the Thunder roster that once was a playoff team.
The Raptors are in a tough spot at the moment, as they lost the one guy who made them win a championship. Compared to Paul George who the Thunder got assets for, the Raptors couldn't even try to trade Kawhi for anything.
I'm not super sure if this means that the Raptors will rebuild after the 2019-2020 season with Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka all becoming free agents, but it will be interesting to see if Pascal Siakam can lead them from now on.
Do I think that the Raptors will rebuild in the near future? Probably, most of the guys that they have are all getting very old in age and do not want to resign them to a huge deal.Plus, they achieved winning a title, so they can now relax knowing that the job is done.
You might be asking, Why is the Miami Heat affected by this? Well like I said earlier, it has been speculated by many this is where Russell Westbrook would be going if he was traded.
Miami is desperate for another star to pair with Jimmy Butler if they want to be contenders in the future, but questions do arise with Westbrook and if he and Butler can work together.
Also, if Miami would do this trade they would probably be giving the Thunder a couple firsts, Tyler Herro, Justice Winslow, and maybe Dion Waiters.
In a finally balanced league, the Jazz now have what it takes to be a contender in the West. Many people have Utah as a second seed, but that could change to third or fourth due to what the Clippers have done.
I still do think that the Jazz will make the Western Conference Finals after adding key acquisitions in Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdonovic, but if they can beat the Clippers, I'm not sure. This probably least affected the Jazz, because no superstar is coming or leaving the team as a consequence of this.
If I had to guess, the Jazz lose to the Clippers in seven, probably because Donovan Mitchell won't be able to lock down Paul George at shooting guard.
Overall, the Clippers signing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George has done many things to the NBA, in a both good and bad ways. It balances the league a lot more, but at the same time destroys franchises who put in everything into that certain player.
How it balances the NBA is that now there is no clear cut championship favorite, and all the contenders only have two stars instead of three or four.
Thank you for reading and leave your thoughts down below!
© 2019 Mikey Karlovsky