Kawhi Leonard: The Nba's Greatest Mastermind
WOW! Kawhi Leonard is something else man. The Klaw has just signed for the LA Clippers after what seemed like an eternity and I gotta say, since the end of the NBA finals up until now, the Claw has had the entire league in his hands.
Kawhi was the only big name free agent left to make his decision this summer, after Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson all made huge moves this off-season. Kawhi said at the very beginning of the summer that he would only be talking with the Clippers, the Lakers and the Raptors, which honestly seemed strange, since, when playing with the Spurs he expressed his explicit desire to only play for the Clippers. While talking to the Raptors made sense, there was never a chance the Lakers would land Kawhi. If you really think about it though, this could have just been a very elaborate master plan from Kawhi and his team to ensure him another tittle (or just simply a very big coincidence).
According to reports Kawhi and his team kept constant in constant talks with the Lakers, to the point where the LA team was absolutely convinced they had their guy in him, and honestly, neither him, his family nor his agents ever gave them a reason to think otherwise. Kawhi's camp went as far as calling the Lakers two hours prior to Kawhi signing with the Clippers to ask them to hold off the Anthony Davis trade announcement until he had made his decision; according to ESPN.
By dragging this whole thing out, Kawhi ensured that the Lakers ran out of time to sign any other significant free agents. While they did sign Boogie it is questionable weather he will ever get back to the level he showed with the Kings.
Kawhi's move is only made bigger by the fact that the Clippers also acquired Paul Geroge, in a trade involving Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous Alexander plus pics and essentially their entire future. By stealing George from the thunder the Clippers pair a finals MVP with a top 3 three in MVP and Defensive player of the year voting, while also adding to the mix a sixth man of the year in Lou Williams. The repercussions of this trade are already being felt in OKC as Russell Westbrook has reportedly requested a trade away from the team (yikes).
Kawhi's trade also puts the raptors in a very tough spot, having traded their main star, Demar Derozan for the Klaw, last off-season they are unequivocally without a main star, being doomed to the 7th or 8th seed in the East for years to come.
With his trade Kawhi has put at the very least three teams out of real contention, as his trade last year also affected the Spurs.
The good thing, however, is that the parity we've all been wanting for the league over the past 10 years seems to finally be here. If I asked you right now, there's not one single team that you could say will most definitely win the tittle or even make the finals this year; and that is great. For 4 straight years we've had the same finals and for 5 straight years we've known who was going to win the championship. Now it's anyone's guess. The Nets, the Clippers and the Lakers position themselves just a tier above everybody else, they are the favorites as they all hold in their rosters at least two of the top 10 to 15 players in the NBA. Let's not forget, about the Warriors, the Bucks, The Sixers, the Nuggets, the Jazz and the Rockets, however, as their cores are still incredible and are still very much in the picture to possibly make the finals. Add to that an array of incredible young cores such as the Pelicans and the Mavs and you have yourself the most incredible looking future we have ever seen in the NBA. Its all open, anything is possible. If you are a die hard NBA fan it is a good time to be alive and if you are just a casual fan now is the time to become a die hard fan.