- Anthony Davis tried to recruit Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Lakers during free agency.
- But Davis said he didn’t know the best way to recruit Leonard, whose free-agency process was a mystery to many in the NBA, and wondered whether he was texting him too much.
- Davis said the Lakers’ general manager, Rob Pelinka, ultimately solicited his opinions on the Lakers’ free-agent signings, calling him every 30 to 45 minutes as they moved to plan B after missing out on Leonard.
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In a summer when many of the biggest NBA free agents landed contracts in the opening hours, Kawhi Leonard’s decision felt drawn out.
Leonard’s landing spot in free agency was not known until early on July 6, six days after free agency began, when it was announced he would join the Los Angeles Clippers and bring Paul George with him.
In the early days of free agency, Leonard was said to be deciding between the Toronto Raptors, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Clippers, with each team going all out to recruit him.
In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols published Sunday, the new Lakers star Anthony Davis said he got in on recruiting Leonard but, like the rest of the NBA, had no idea whether his efforts were effective.
“Kawhi’s not a big recruiter guy. That’s what I heard,” Davis told Nichols. “I would send him texts every now and then, and just, like, ‘Is this too much?'”
Nichols laughed, saying nobody knew how to properly recruit Leonard and comparing it to dating.
“You really don’t know,” Davis said.
Ultimately, Leonard wanted to join the Clippers but wanted them to find a second star to join him. He reportedly recruited George from the Oklahoma City Thunder and persuaded him to ask the Thunder for a trade. A source close to George told ESPN that Leonard, despite being quiet and mysterious to much of the league, was a “hell of a recruiter.”
The Lakers had to move to plan B after missing out on Leonard, splitting their cap space on several role players to fill out their roster: Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, and Quinn Cook.
Davis told Nichols that early in free agency, the Lakers’ general manager, Rob Pelinka, called him every 30 to 45 minutes to solicit his opinions on different players. Davis said he even had to tell Pelinka to hold off on calling him while he went to the movies.
Watch the full interview below:
- Read more:
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- NBA POWER RANKINGS: Where all 30 teams stand after a wild summer that shook up the league
- The Oklahoma City Thunder have hauled in a bounty of NBA draft picks through 3 trades, and now they’re set up for one of the wildest rebuilds in history
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA’s great ‘what-if’ team that featured 3 future MVPs
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