- Kawhi Leonard and Paul George rocked the NBA this summer by teaming up on the Los Angeles Clippers.
- Leonard said in an interview that he tried to convince the San Antonio Spurs to trade for Leonard in 2017 when the Indiana Pacers were shopping George before his free agency.
- The Pacers almost teamed up Leonard and George in 2011 when they drafted Leonard but made a draft-day deal that sent Leonard to the Spurs.
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The Los Angeles Clippers introduced Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on Wednesday, the newest, and perhaps best, superstar tandem in the NBA.
However, if it were up to Leonard, the star forwards would have teamed up years ago with the San Antonio Spurs.
Speaking with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Leonard said he and George first had thoughts of teaming up when they were still with the Spurs and Indiana Pacers, respectively.
“I was trying to get San Antonio to get him over with us,” Leonard told Nichols. “You know how things work with trades. He ended up to the Thunder, probably had a better package for him. But that was probably when the initial idea started.”
George told the Pacers in 2017 that he intended to leave in free agency the following year. Rumours suggested George wanted to join the Los Angeles Lakers to play closer to home. The Pacers ultimately traded him to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
George re-signed with the Thunder last summer on a four-year deal, but he and Leonard rocked the NBA world this summer when George asked for a trade to the Clippers to team up with Leonard.
Leonard’s and George’s careers have been somewhat intertwined. They both grew up in Southern California and attended mid-major colleges – George with Fresno State, Leonard with San Diego State.
The Pacers drafted George in 2010, and the Pacers took Leonard with the 15th pick in the 2011 draft. However, on draft night, the Spurs traded for Leonard, sending George Hill to the Pacers.
George told Nichols that when the Pacers initially drafted Leonard, he was “scared” because they played the same position. George was worried about what it meant for his future. Instead, the Pacers narrowly missed drafting what could have become one of the most dynamic duos in the league.
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