25 Maniacal Reactions to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George Teaming Up on the Clippers
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard
- Kawhi Leonard's decision to sign with the LA Clippers -- and bring Paul George with him -- will change the league for years to come.
- Matt Moore, Rob Perez and Justin Phan assess the winners, the losers and everything in between, including what this means for the Lakers, the Thunder, the 2020 title race, the Warriors, Russell Westbrook, the MVP favorite, and, yes, the Clippers
Look, sometimes it’s better to just illustrate what happened with an image:
That’s the NBA, laughing at us as it detonates and reinvents itself, like a thermonuclear phoenix.
This time it was the Clippers, who late Friday night agreed to terms with Kawhi Leonard, and then pulled off a trade for Paul George concurrently.
Both deals are massive, with Leonard spurning the Lakers and the Raptors to sign a four-years, $141 million deal, and the Clippers sending Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari along with almost every draft pick they have for the next seven years to OKC for George.
It’s madness. It’s chaos. It’s the NBA.
Here are 25 manic reactions from our NBA crew of Matt Moore, Justin Phan, and Rob Perez in the wake of the biggest blockbuster in a summer of blockbusters that just reshaped the NBA … again.
1. The Clippers Just Kicked Big Brother In the Junk
They finally beat Big Brother. They finally walked up to him, looked him in the eye, and while he was laughing at him, socked him in the mouth, kicked him in the crotch, and shoved him into the river.
The Clippers have always been the lesser basketball team in LA, an afterthought, a joke. Throughout the Lob City years, Lakers fans reveled in reminding the Clippers how they don’t matter.
That won’t change overnight; it might not change at all. But look at this. The Clippers — THE CLIPPERS — are moving into a new building in a few years with two serious MVP candidates around a remaining roster of capable veterans (unlike their STAPLES co-habitants), and they did so by grabbing the guys the Lakers wanted.
The Clippers may not be relevant in LA next to the Lakers, but they are NBA relevant, you can bet your ass. Just look at the title odds with them as the favorite for proof of that. — Matt Moore
2. Lakers In Shambles
Striking out on Kawhi was bad enough, but to lose out to Little Brother AND see him create a potential juggernaut in the process is even worse. The Lakers had to have prepared for this scenario, right? No seriously, I’m genuinely asking. Because their plan was to apparently run out and pay Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee and Danny Green a combined $26.3 million next season. And it’s only a matter of time until they announce the signing of Rajon Rondo since they still don’t have a starting point guard.
Yes, it’s July 6 and the vast majority of top free agents have already been signed, but there was still talent left on the board. Boogie Cousins, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Avery Bradley, JaMychal Green are just some of the names they should have prioritized. Maybe they still salvage this with some combination of Marcus Morris, Kyle Korver, and Andre Iguodala, but things aren’t off to a promising start. — Justin Phan
3. Raptors Life Goes On
Toronto: you are forever world champions.
Don’t retire Kawhi’s jersey, give that to DeRozan and Lowry and Masai. Don’t be the Warriors.
Instead, build him a statue of his Game 7 shot outside the arena.
Have him crouching in stone sticking his tongue out like he just sucked on a warhead for eternity.
Walk by it every day on your way into the arena and remember the good times. No free agency can ever take that away from you. — Wob