This offseason, Kawhi Leonard finally got his wish to play at home after signing a three-year, $103 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard had been set on moving to Los Angeles since requesting a trade during his stint with the San Antonio Spurs, although the team couldn’t find an agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Upon his arrival to the Toronto Raptors, they did everything in their power to accommodate Leonard, from “load-management” to handling media pressure. But even a championship wasn’t enough to change Leonard’s mind, as he wanted to move closer to his family. He was willing to leave behind two well-run organizations — and millions of dollars — for the opportunity to play in front of his relatives.
As a free agent, Leonard considered the Raptors, Lakers, and Clippers. The acquisition of Paul George was enough for Leonard to commit to the Clippers in a trade, as both stars had a mutual interest in teaming up. Given the rivalry between the two Los Angeles teams, Lakers fans weren’t too fond of Leonard’s decision.
Leonard hasn’t received a hero’s reception in every part of the city, as evident by his appearance at the game between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. He was shown on the big screen and some fans responded with loud boos, per Bleacher Report. The pro-Lakers crowd remains disappointed with Leonard for rejecting his favorite team as a kid to join the Clippers.
Kawhi just got booed. Damn. The Lakers-Clippers rivalry is gunna be lit pic.twitter.com/vq4FFl1WMn— Renato (@RPMSports18) September 29, 2019
Historically, Los Angeles has always been the Lakers’ town — thanks to 16 championships since 1949 — while the Clippers have yet to win one. But the newly assembled Clippers may be on their way to make history. The partnership of Leonard and George could finally turn the squad into a true contender, despite facing intense competition around the league.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, George believes that Leonard and himself are now the best duo in the NBA due to their “elite” status on both ends. This claim will be challenged throughout the year by their city rivals, now that Anthony Davis has joined forces with LeBron James.
The Clippers’ overall support has certainly grown since the “Lob City” era. Their newest stars have already generated plenty of excitement, and will likely bring in some new fans this season. While Leonard may receive boos from fans every now and then, he’s well aware that winning is the only way to challenge the Lakers for the throne of Los Angeles.