Lakers land consolation prizes after missing out on Kawhi Leonard

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

Lakers fans were anxiously awaiting the announcement that Kawhi Leonard had elected to join the Lakers and form a seemingly unbeatable Big 3 alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but much of Laker Nation woke up to bad news on Saturday.

Instead of signing with the Lakers, Leonard has opted to join the Los Angeles Clippers and partner with MVP finalist Paul George, who will be arriving in LA after the Clippers and Thunder agreed to a blockbuster trade.

Leonard’s decision sets up what might be one of the most exciting and wide-open NBA seasons in modern history – but the timing of the deal left the Lakers scrambling to sign free agents before the moratorium ends at noon on July 6th.

To make the most of their cap space, the Lakers need to sign all the free agents they can before the Anthony Davis trade becomes official, as the trade will effectively slash their cap room by around $5 million. With the Davis trade set to be finalized some time on Saturday, the Lakers committed nearly half of their remaining cap space to their No. 1 target outside of Leonard – former Raptor Danny Green.

“I’m excited for the next two years that I will be teaming up with my new teammates in L.A., the Los Angeles Lakers. Looking forward to playing with those guys. Should be great.”

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, JaVale McGee and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will also be returning for the Lakers this coming season. McGee averaged 12 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season.

UPDATE: The Lakers are also adding guard Quinn Cook.

UPDATE #2: DeMarcus Cousins is signing a one-year deal to reunite with Anthony Davis.

UPDATE #3: Rajon Rondo will be returning.

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?SURPRISE! SURPRISE! L.A. Clippers Will Sign Kawhi Leonard AND Paul George!?

Is it just me, or does it seem appropriate that Southern California experienced another 7.1 earthquake this evening – which even shook up Zion & R.J.’s summer league game in Vegas with Lebron & AD sitting courtside? Hold on y’all!

Sources: Clippers to land Leonard, George

Adrian Wojnarowski | ESPN

The LA Clippers are making a blockbuster trade for Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, clearing the path for free agent Kawhi Leonard to sign with the Clippers on a four-year, $142 million contract, league sources tell ESPN.

In an 11th-hour move to keep Leonard from partnering with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers, the Clippers are trading four future unprotected first-round picks, a protected first-round pick and two picks swaps to the Thunder to get George, league sources tell ESPN.

The Clippers are sending their 2022, 2024 and 2026 picks to the Thunder, their 2021 and 2023 first-round picks via Miami and rights to swap picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025, according to sources.

The Clippers also are sending point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinarito the Thunder in the deal, league sources tell ESPN.

George and Leonard wanted to play together, and George and his agent, Aaron Mintz, approached Thunder general manager Sam Presti in recent days and requested a trade, league sources said. Leonard wanted to walk into a championship contender, and he believed George was the co-star he wanted on his side.

With Friday night’s additions, Staples Center appears set to be the most starry arena in the NBA: Leonard and George vs. James and Davis.

Leonard had held meetings with three teams he planned to sit down with in free agency, according to sources. He met with the Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors over the past week, with Toronto receiving the final meeting, sources said.

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The Logo is one bad mofo!!!