NBA Reporter: Kawhi Didn't Use Lakers

Leonard didn't use the Lakers as a bargaining chip, Brad Turner says; he was waiting on Paul George

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
July 08, 2019 - 9:31 am
Kawhi Leonard Raptors Clippers

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Kawhi Leonard ended the free-agent suspense this past weekend, agreeing to a max contract with the Clippers – and getting Paul George to join him in Los Angeles.

It was a boss move from the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

“We thought Kawhi didn’t talk very much,” L.A. Times NBA reporter Brad Turner said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Well, obviously he talked to someone, and that someone turned out to be Paul George. That was a stealth move by Kawhi. I was shocked by it. . . . I can’t believe it. Im not sure how it happened,  ]especially when I’ve only know Kawhi to be this quiet person. As Charles Barkley told me, obviously he talks to someone, and he was talking to Paul George. He got the guy to go in and request a trade. This was after signing a four-year contract last year.”

The Thunder obliged.

“Sam Presti decided, ‘OK, if you don’t want to be with Oklahoma City, then we’ll move you,’” Turner said. The Clippers moved on him very fast. It happened so fast, so swift, the next thing I know these two guys are playing for the Clippers.”

The Lakers, of course, were sad to miss out on Leonard. Some fans, in fact, were angry.

“Some people in Laker Land think that maybe he used the Lakers,” Turner said. “I don’t think that was the case. I think he was just trying to make sure the Clippers had more opportunities to try to get this deal done. If they couldn’t get the deal done, then the question becomes would Kawhi have gone to the Lakers? Most people believe he would have, but that just wasn’t the case. He had enough time to make the Lakers hold off. They had to keep waiting. Toronto had to keep waiting. Finally, it comes out he’s going to the Clippers. Why? Because he was working behind the scenes to get Paul George to join him.”

Click below to listen to Turner’s interview in its entirety.