Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are officially members of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers completed their blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, acquiring George for guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari and five first-round draft picks.
The Clippers surrendered their first-rounders in 2022, 2024 and 2026, plus sent ones for 2021 and 2023 that were obtained through Miami, to Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City also has the right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025.
“When you have the opportunity to acquire a contributor of his calibre, you do what it takes to bring him home,” Clippers president Lawrence Frank said.
George is a Los Angeles native. Leonard is also a Southern California native and a person with knowledge of the situation said he signed a three-year max contract that could be worth nearly US$110-million – although the last year is at his option, meaning he and George could both be free agents in 2021. They both will have options that summer.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Clippers did not release the final terms of Leonard’s deal. The Athletic first reported the three-year term and option provision in Leonard’s deal.
Leonard and the Clippers had talked about a full four-year max as well, but eventually agreed on the shorter deal which preserves the future contract flexibility for the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
“Having him on our side is a tremendous privilege and a massive responsibility, one we will take very seriously,” Frank said. “His expectation, and ours, is to contend for championships.”
Leonard led San Antonio to the NBA title in 2014 and Toronto to its first title last month.