NBA Free Agency and Rumours roundup: 5th July - Kawhi Leonard, Lillard to Lakers?
After a frenzied start to free agency, nearly all the big pieces on the drawing board for teams are now off it, tied up to some team or the other. LeBron took his talents to Venice Beach, Paul George returned to OKC while KD and CP3 followed suit for the Warriors and the Rockets. DeAndre Jordan declined his player option with the Clippers, opting to sign with the Mavericks for less and help their playoff push. All of the aforementioned deals took place within the first 24 hours.
On Day 2, after a series of events involving Rajon Rondo and Julius Randle, DeMarcus Cousins supercharged an all-time great Warriors roster with his arrival, who are now definitely the strongest NBA team in history.
Thus, what we bring to you from Day 5 are mostly reports about role players now, and a couple of other saucy rumors about established players.
#1 Kawhi Leonard may prefer the Clippers to the Lakers now
Also read: 5 Possible Trade packages for Kawhi Leonard
With the Kawhi Leonard saga having stretched on for a long time now, there's reportedly a new development. Appearing on the Back to Back podcast on the Count The Dings Network on Thursday, ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright indicated that The Klaw is now focusing on trying to land a move to the Clippers rather than the Lakers - after LeBron James' announcement that he'll be signing with them.
"The Lakers are not Kawhi's preferred destination anymore," Wright said. "He wants to go to the Clippers. Because he doesn't want to go and be second fiddle to LeBron. That's what I was told. I was told by somebody that would know. So right now the Clippers are where he wants to go.
But I'm also told—I talked to people within the Spurs organization—and they're like, 'Yeah he wants to go to the Clippers, but their assets are s--t at this point.'"
Leonard's relationship with the Spurs has been on ice for a long time now, with additional reports coming in that his camp attempted to hide him from the Spurs staff when they reached out to New York.
Leonard has proved over the last 4 years - since the 2014 NBA Finals and the FMVP trophy he landed back then, that he is a worthy opponent for James. The Spurs only had him last season, and they still managed to make the Western Conference Finals and had the Warriors down by 25 points in Oakland whilst he was still on the court.
Doc Rivers is a championship winner, and with Kawhi on his hands, he can lead the Clippers to a quick turnaround of fortunes following the departures of their Lob City trio.