Los Angeles Clippers: How LA became real contenders for Kawhi Leonard

NBA Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
NBA Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

How the Los Angeles Clippers have become, arguably, the top contender to sign Kawhi Leonard this summer

After bringing the Toronto Raptors their first NBA championship in franchise history, Kawhi Leonard now faces a big decision that may shake the league to its core.

I less than a week, Kawhi Leonard will enter free agency, in which he’ll be able to return to Toronto or join another squad back in the states.

And though many suitors inquire the services of the two-time finals MVP, including the Raptors, one team that can potentially land Leonard in this year’s free agency period is the Los Angeles Clippers.

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The Clippers have seemly turned themselves into a free agency destination overnight through, in large part, smart front office decisions.

After the unfulfilling “Lob City” era, the Clippers now find themselves one big move away from becoming one of the leagues elite biddings for an NBA championship next season.

Kawhi Leonard can be that final piece to the puzzle that the team’s general manager and Steve Ballmer clamor for to put the team back on top of the Western Conference.

The Clippers are coming off a season in which they outplayed many people’s expectations, winning 48 games and clinching the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Their play down the stretch along with their excellent performances against the Golden State Warriors (in the playoffs) has helped gain the franchise some positive momentum coming into this year’s free agency period.

But it’s the moves the Clippers made during the 2018-19 season and prior is what has turned the franchise into players in this summer free agency bonanza.

Unloading Chris Paul and Blake Griffin‘s massive contract was only the first step in preparing for a big summer in 2019. Then a mid-season trade unloading Tobias Harris to the Sixers, they were able to free up the much need cap space to allure a big-time free agent.

Now, a week away from free agency, the Clippers are at the pivotal point in the franchise history where they can land one of the biggest stars in the franchise history.

Many have tied Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers throughout the regular season with chirpings of him wanting to go back to his hometown in Los Angeles. However, especially when it comes to nothing is certain at this point in the proceedings.

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It would be interesting to see if the Clippers will be able to acquire the biggest star in franchise history, as the team awaits who Kawhi Leonard chooses to play for next season. With the decision of one man, the Clippers can go from being an afterthought in the West to potentially being the pre-season favorite.