The Board Man got paid and Los Angeles basketball has a new “fun guy” after Kawhi Leonard, arguably the most sought-after free agent on the market this NBA offseason, announced late Friday night that he would sign a 4 year, $142 million deal with the Clippers, who shortly before signing Kawhi announced they’d pulled off a trade that sent Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George for a record-setting collection of draft picks.
In many ways, both moves make a lot of sense for both the Clippers and their two new stars. Leonard and George are both California natives who played college ball at San Diego State and Fresno State, respectively. For the Clippers, the acquisitions are the fruit of what L.A. Times Clippers beat reporter Andrew Grief called “a dogged pursuit by the Clippers over the past year” to convince Kawhi to come to L.A.
But this weekend wasn’t just about the Clips. The Lakers made a splash too, despite losing out on the Kawhi sweepstakes, adding big man DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins to a frontcourt already expected to be one of the best in the league with breakout star Kyle Kuzman and the addition of Anthony Davis. Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Lakers, likely as a “prove it” deal for the Lakers to see whether Cousins, who has been plagued by injury most of his career, can stay healthy for a full season.
Today on AirTalk, we’ll explain what the big trades and signings mean for L.A. basketball next year, break down the revitalized Clippers and Lakers rosters, and speculate on who has the better chance to challenge Golden State for the top spot in the Western Conference next year.