The NBA is simply glorious. When the East Coast went to bed, Kawhi Leonard’s free agent decision loomed over the city of Toronto, nay the entirety of Canada. Leonard’s now former teammate Danny Green was waiting with bated breath to see where his fellow NBA champion would land. The Bucks and Sixers were likely the most interested, aside from the Toronto Raptors. The oddsmakers were up in the air on which teams would fill out the top three in the Eastern Conference. Then it happened. A signing and a trade that dramatically altered the NBA landscape.
Kawhi signs with the Clippers
In a surprise to few, Kawhi chose to go to his long-rumored destination in Los Angeles.
Instead of finishing an unprecedented trio of MVP contenders with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers, Leonard opted to team up with former Sixer Landry Shamet. Okay, I got the Sixers Twitter fanboy line of the day out of the way. Leonard isn’t stupid. He knew that before he could commit himself to a max deal with the Clippers, he’d need another star to shift the competitive balance of the Western Conference. Boy did he get one.
Along Came Paul-G
It was a year ago when I openly begged the Sixers to make a move for Paul George. Despite the owner of this site claiming PG13 is one of the most overrated players of this generation, George was widely considered to be a Top-2 or Top-3 MVP candidate for two-thirds of the season, until a shoulder injury rendered him nearly unable to shoot (and unlike a former #1 overall pick, this was a real injury… I digress). After George opted to sign an extension with the small market, Russell-Westbrook-led Oklahoma City Thunder, it seemed unlikely he’d be going anywhere. In fact, most analysts expected the Thunder to deal one of Steven Adams or Westbrook if for no reason other than to clear salary and get under the luxury tax threshold.
No one expected PG13 to get dealt. That was until the reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard stepped in and out GM’d LeBron James.
Winners and losers and what this all means for the Sixers after the jump: