Clippers officially sign Kawhi, finalize trade deal for George
LOS ANGELES, USA – Kawhi Leonard and Paul George made their move to the Los Angeles Clippers official on Wednesday, July 10 (Thursday, July 11, Philippine time) with the NBA team announcing Leonard's signing and George's trade deal with Oklahoma City.
Details of Leonard's contract were not revealed by the Clippers, but ESPN and The Athletic website said Leonard's deal was for 3 years and not 4 as originally thought when the decisions were unveiled last week.
The reported three-year deal worth $103.1 million, rather than a four-year contract for $142 million, and George's 2018 deal for 4 years at $136.9 million give each player an opt out clause ahead of the 2021-2022 season, according to unnamed sources in the reports.
"This is a historic moment for our organization and our fans," Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said.
Leonard, who is from Los Angeles, departed the Toronto Raptors after leading them to the NBA title in his one season with the Canadian club after a trade from San Antonio.
"We are grateful and honored that Kawhi Leonard has decided to come home and join the L.A. Clippers. Kawhi is a peerless two-way player, a relentless worker and a natural fit for the serious, professional culture our group has established," Frank said.
"Having him on our side is a tremendous privilege and a massive responsibility, one we will take very seriously. His expectation, and ours, is to contend for championships."
Leonard reportedly would not agree to the deal unless the Clippers obtained George and they did by dealing Canadian guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Italian forward Danilo Gallinari and 5 future first-round NBA Draft picks to the Thunder for George.
"Paul George is one of the greatest two-way players in our game," Frank said. "He's both an elite scorer and a relentless defender whose versatility elevates any team.
"When you have the opportunity to acquire a contributor of his caliber, you do what it takes to bring him home. Paul is a native of the Los Angeles area and an ideal fit for the Clippers, thanks to his selflessness and drive.
"We've plotted an aggressive course to build a championship contender and acquiring Paul is a critical step."