NBA Rumors: After Paul George Trade, Kawhi Leonard Reveals Second Major Request To LA Clippers
Before he officially signed with them in the 2019 free agency, Kawhi Leonard made one major request of the Los Angeles Clippers — urging them to trade for Paul George, who was then a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Clippers immediately granted Leonard’s wish by sending a plethora of precious trade assets to the Thunder to bring George to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, despite having two superstars and a bunch of quality role players, the Clippers still failed to achieve their main goal this year as they were upset by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals.
After suffering that huge disappointment, Leonard is reportedly demanding the Clippers make another major roster upgrade to boost their chances of fully dominating the Western Conference and winning the NBA championship title in the 2020-21 NBA season. In a recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take, via YouTube, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN revealed that Leonard “privately has clamored” for a point guard.
“They clearly need a point guard,” Smith said, as transcribed by Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report. “Everybody knows it, and Kawhi Leonard privately has clamored for one. It’s not that he wants them to get rid of Patrick Beverley, but Patrick Beverley is basically a defensive ace who’s small and has to play opposing guards. So they need a point guard that can run a team and can shoot.”
It won’t really be surprising if Leonard asks the Clippers to add a point guard in the 2020 offseason. They may currently have Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams on their roster, but none of those guards can be considered as a traditional floor general. As Conway noted, Beverley, who served as the team’s starting PG, only averaged 3.5 assists for his career, while Williams led the Hollywood team in assists last season at 5.6 per game. Also, the Clippers reportedly assisted the seventh-fewest of their baskets during the regular season.
Leonard may be capable of running the floor and making plays for his teammates, but he found more success when he was sharing the court with a traditional point guard. During his stint with the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard teamed up with a Hall of Fame point guard in Tony Parker, while in his lone season with the Toronto Raptors, he helped them capture their first Larry O’Brien Trophy with the likes of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet.
Whether it’s via trade or free agency, the Clippers should do everything they can to grant Leonard’s request before the start of the 2020-21 NBA season. If they fail to fulfill his wish, they could risk losing him in the summer of 2021 where he could opt out of his contract and leave as an unrestricted free agent.