Over the last several years, star forward Kawhi Leonard has emerged as one of the top players in the league. Throughout that process, it has seen him go head to head with many of the game’s best players, with notable matchups against LeBron James along the way. It’s a pairing that has been at the center of the rekindled battle between both Los Angeles teams, with Leonard deciding to join the Clippers last summer. However, the first couple of showdowns between the two teams has led to some intriguing reported dialogue from Leonard about James.
Kawhi Leonard’s decision to join the Clippers
For months ahead of last offseason, there was a growing notion that Leonard had significant interest in joining the Clippers.
Despite the Lakers hopping into the conversation as a possible landing spot for the reigning NBA Finals MVP, he decided to sign with other LA team. Granted, that came after the team had to acquire Paul George to make it happen, but it made it possible.
The Clippers have had their bumps along the way, but they have proven to be one of the league’s best teams with a realistic shot to vie for an NBA title. Along the way, it has come with some entertaining battles with the Lakers twice this season, in which they have grabbed the upper hand in the first two games.
There has also been a notable growing trend that Leonard may not be too fond of the situation.
Kawhi Leonard’s complaint about LeBron James
The Clippers have taken the first two games of the season over the Lakers, which has continued to give them a mental edge over their fellow Staples Center tenants.
That has featured Leonard being the leading offensive factor on the floor in both instances, averaging 32.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while shooting 55.3% from the floor and 50.0% from beyond the arc. That includes scoring at least 30 points in each contest. It has notably seen James not cover Leonard throughout the entire game, which Stephen A. Smith reported on Wednesday that the Clippers’ star has grown tired of the four-time league MVP dodging him.
It’s hard to believe that the 29-year-old has voiced given the quiet nature of his game and the lack of trash talk, but it’s plausible. In those two games, James hasn’t been the primary defender on Leonard for long stretches. However, it should be noted that James hasn’t been defending the opposing team’s best offensive talent for lengthy periods over the last several years.
What makes this notable is that it’s reportedly coming from Leonard, who has had high-stake matchups with James over the years that include a pair in the NBA Finals. It’s hard to staple this down as being completely factual, but it something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Clippers, Kawhi Leonard honed in on competing for an NBA title
There may be much push back to Smith for reporting these comments, which in likelihood will receive a no-comment from Leonard when asked about it. Instead, the focus will remain on the more significant task at hand for Leonard and the Clippers to bring the franchise their first NBA title.
At the same time, these comments could make their way back around to James, who will shoot it down as well. The Lakers will likely be their biggest challenge in the Western Conference, as is vice-versa. The two teams will meet two more times in the regular season with what’s expected to be another showdown in the playoffs, which many hope will be in the Western Conference Finals.
What this may do more than anything else is bring more intensity and attention to their matchups, with the focus being even more attention on Leonard and James from this point forward.