Throughout the early goings of free agency, the bulk of the attention was on Kawhi Leonard‘s decision. For a short period, there was some traction that he could join the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the LA Clippers. However, the star forward elected to sign with the team that he had long been rumored to have some significant interest in joining last summer. In the time that has passed, many have weighed in on how the situation panned out for the reigning NBA Finals MVP. That has seen Lakers’ star forward Anthony Davis recently give his take on the entire matter.
Anthony Davis on if Kawhi Leonard joined the Lakers
In the months leading up to free agency last offseason, the notion had become quite clear that Leonard had a strong desire to play in Los Angeles, which had become centered on joining the Clippers.
That may have been the case all along, but the Lakers managed to push their way into the picture. There were a few things that unfolded out of their favor, such as Magic Johnson discussing the meeting with the star forward, which contributed to him choosing to sign elsewhere.
Nonetheless, it’s something that Anthony Davis envisioned the Lakers being an even greater juggernaut in the NBA with him, Leonard, and LeBron James, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group.
“At the time when it was going down before he decided, you think about what the team could be,” Davis told reporters Saturday in Chicago. “The defensive mindset we could’ve had, the scoring ability we could’ve had. Me, him and LeBron [James] is obviously something that teams would fear.”
It may be one of those “what if” questions that may never get answered, but Davis also had an intriguing response to how he truly felt about Leonard’s move.
Anthony Davis on Kawhi Leonard joining the Clippers
There may never be a way of truly knowing whether the Lakers had a legitimate chance to land Leonard, but he’s now one of the centerpieces for the Clippers.
The decision to join LA made them into a powerhouse in the league that has pinned them as one of the favorites to win a championship this season. It’s a move that Davis believes has helped created even more excitement across the NBA with another team emerging into the title picture.
“I think he just made the league interesting,” Davis said. “He made the league fun. And that’s the great thing about sports. You never know what’s going to happen. Now we kind of have this, as you guys would say, quote-unquote rivalry in L.A., so it’s fun.”
The Clippers have been successful over the last several years, but that hasn’t equated to deep playoff runs or a strong push towards their first NBA title. The addition of Leonard along with Paul George has presented that opportunity for them this year and beyond that.
Clippers relying on Kawhi Leonard to lead the charge
The Clippers have had their struggles with injuries and some inconsistent play on the road this season, but they are well in the mix as a championship-caliber team.
Leonard has fit smoothly as LA’s top-scoring option as he’s averaging career highs across the board with 27.2 points on 46.3% shooting from the floor and 37.4% from beyond the arc along with 7.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. The Clippers have continued to abide by his load management plan to help navigate him through the entire season relatively healthy heading into the playoffs.
LA’s primary competition in the Western Conference looks to be the Lakers, who are currently sitting in the top spot in the conference. The Clippers have taken the first two meetings this season, which looks to have given them a mental edge while they have acquired players like Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson to beef up their roster.
Ultimately, the playoffs will come down to Leonard and George stepping it up to lead their talented and deep roster to an NBA title. The pieces are undoubtedly in place for them to make that push.