THIS LEAGUE: Kawhi to Clippers, George Joins in Trade, LeBron Inserts Finger in Collar

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THIS LEAGUE: Kawhi to Clippers, George Joins in Trade, LeBron Inserts Finger in Collar

Chicago Bulls

Good morning!

Did you sleep well?

Good.

KAWHI LEONARD SIGNED WITH THE CLIPPERS AND PAUL GEORGE IS JOINING HIM AFTER BEING TRADED BY THE THUNDER.

Okay, I’m sorry for the shouting, but this is absolutely crazy.

Last night when we were all sleeping (in typical Kawhi fashion), Leonard announced that he would be signing a four-year $142 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. While the team always felt like the front-runners to win the sweepstakes, recent speculation around the league sent rumors on a whirlwind between the Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers, and Clippers.

However, those that said no one actually knew anything about what Leonard’s future held came out on top, because the next move made by the Clippers was an utter blind side to those that follow the NBA world:

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded George to only one year after he made the shocking move of signings a four-year $127 million deal to stay paired alongside Russell Westbrook on the Thunder.

Originally, the Thunder acquired George in 2017 with a trade to the Pacers. George had one-year remaining on his contract, and while many assumed he would be heading to a team like the Lakers, Oklahoma City apparently did enough to convince him it was worth hanging around.

The surprising move actually appeared to set some sort of precedents for what the Toronto Raptors were trying to do when acquiring Leonard with one-year left on his contract last offseason. Alas, the team couldn’t convince him to stay and the California-native will be heading back home. Hey, but they got a championship out of it!

Both players will now be members of the Clippers, but at least the Thunder got the most out of their deal here.

To be honest, this feels like a win-win situation. The Thunder didn’t appear to be going anywhere fast even with Russell Westbrook and George on the roster, so grabbing productive pieces in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari along with a historic-load of draft picks will give them a solid foundation to build on.

The story regarding how we got here though feels utterly crazy. According to Woj, Leonard was attempting to recruit George to the Clippers and the two met in Los Angeles earlier this week. After Leonard convinced George to find a way over to the Clippers, he went to the Thunder’s front office and requested a trade. On the other end, Woj states the Clippers felt as though they had no choice with the idea of Leonard as a member of the Lakers swirling around, and it felt unrealistic that Leonard would sign without George being a member of the team.

Yeah, so there you have it. Under our nose this whole time was an unexpected bond between Leonard and George. Who would have thought after all of this…

All this madness might not be over yet. If the Thunder are entering full rebuild mode, who knows, Westbrook could be on the trading block next.

As for the Eastern Conference as a whole, there is one less team to worry about. The Raptors still have some obvious talent with Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakim (also give it up for my boy Fred VanVleet!), but it’s hard to imagine them circulating near the top of things right now. Could this mean there is more room for teams like the Bulls to find their way into the playoffs? Most likely.

Wow, this has been a wild ride.

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)


Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.