If you let Kawhi Leonard tell it, Paul George is the first elite-level player that he had the opportunity to play with. Not five-time NBA champion and the best power forward of all-time Tim Duncan, not Spurs legends Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker either.
After his introductory press conference with the Los Angeles Clippers, Kawhi Leonard sat with Rachel Nichols and spoke favorable of George, saying, “This is probably the first time I’m playing with someone with elite-level talent.”
“It’s still surreal.”
Here’s an excerpt from my conversation with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George – full interview still to come: pic.twitter.com/Pd6m0ScXGl
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 24, 2019
I asked Kawhi when he first knew he wanted to play with Paul George:
“I was trying to get San Antonio to get him over to us. You know how things work with trades, he ended up to the Thunder. But that’s probably when the initial idea started, when he wanted to get out of Indiana.”
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 25, 2019
Kawhi Leonard now has his elite teammate and is back home in Southern California. Also during his conversation, Leonard made sure to thank the fans of Toronto, but also stomped on the hearts of both Lakers and Raptors fans by letting them know the Clippers landing George is what got his services.
“I think it was just a win-win across the board when we all looked at it, and thought this was the best moment to pull the plug.”
— ESPN (@espn) July 24, 2019