Paul George recently revealed the series of events that led him to join Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers.
George told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne he initially called Leonard to congratulate him on winning the NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors.
Their relationship “just trickled from there.”
Shelburne provided more details:
“There were countless text messages and phone calls and then two in-person meetings at Drake’s house in Hidden Hills, California. (Drake had befriended Leonard during his season in Toronto and let Leonard — who lives in San Diego — stay there when he was in Los Angeles for free-agent meetings). By July 1, they had decided to put their plan in motion: Leonard told the Clippers that he was interested in playing for them but only if they could improve their roster by adding an All-Star-caliber player like George.”
George and Leonard met in Los Angeles on July 2, then George’s agent reached out to Oklahoma City Thunder General Manager Sam Presti to discuss a possible trade.
Presti was reportedly “stunned” and met with George to address the situation.
The Thunder eventually agreed to George’s request and worked out a deal with the Clippers.
The trade reportedly “nearly collapsed under its own weight” at various times throughout negotiations.
Here is a clip of George speaking about what it means to play at home in Los Angeles: