Riverside native and two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard is joining the Los Angeles Clippers and fellow Southern California native Paul George is joining the Clippers via trade, according to multiple reports Friday night.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports first reported the decision of the two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable player, who had been reportedly mulling over choosing between the LA Clippers, LA Lakers and Toronto Raptors.
In addition, the Clippers are acquiring George, who is an All-Star guard and Palmdale native. George is joining the Clippers via a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for a "record-setting collection of draft choices," according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Leonard and George met earlier in the week and George asked Oklahoma City for a trade, according to ESPN.
The Clippers are sending the Thunder four unprotected first-round draft picks, one protected first-round draft pick, two pick swaps, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wojnarowski reported.
Even giving up a major haul of draft picks, the Clippers now have two elite talents that should rival the Lakers' new superstar tandem of LeBron James, 34, and Anthony Davis, 26. Considering the ages of George, 29, and Leonard, 28, the Clippers have two superstars in the prime of their basketball careers and should immediately be considered title favorites, alongside with the Lakers.
Without a doubt, the Clippers have landed the most highly sought free agent of the summer of 2019, as Leonard is coming off a NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award winning performance with the Toronto Raptors.
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Leonard, who has won two NBA titles and two NBA Finals MVP awards with two different teams, led the Raptors to their first ever NBA championship in June. Now, the Clippers will hope Leonard, along with George, can lead LA's often overlooked franchise to its first ever title.