Kawhi Leonard has agreed to join the Los Angeles Clippers, choosing his new club over the defending champion Toronto Raptors, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Terms of the deal were not confirmed - by league rules, all new deals can only be confirmed starting July 6 - but Leonard signed a four-year maximum contract worth $142 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Clippers also reportedly acquired Paul George in a blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, pairing Leonard with a star of his choosing. Leonard was angling for George to join him with the Clippers, Wojnarowski reports. The duo now figure to be one of the NBA’s most frightening two-way pairings, with both players in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year.
Sources: Leonard and George met in LA earlier in week. Clippers had long been frontrunners for Leonard, but it is unlikely he would've made final leap to sign without PG trade. Clippers imagined Leonard as part of a Lakers Big 3 --- and knew they had no choice. They did OKC deal.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
Leonard led the Raptors to their first title in franchise history, helping the club knock off the Golden State Warriors in six games during the 2019 NBA Finals.
The reigning Finals MVP averaged a career-best 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, to go along with 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals during 60 games in the regular season. Leonard shot 49.6 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Leonard elevated his game to a new level during the playoffs, averaging 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game, on 49 percent shooting from the field. The Raptors’ superstar averaged 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and two steals during the Finals.
The Raptors could’ve offered Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract, a term and figure no other team would’ve been allowed to. In the end, it didn’t matter.
Best of luck, Kawhi. You will be a legend in Toronto and Canada forever.
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