“They Gave Up a King’s Ransom”: Kawhi Leonard Gets Questioned for Throwing Away Bright Future With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for Paul George

Published 12/28/2023, 9:57 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The Los Angeles Clippers have been a perennial title contender since former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, bought the franchise back in 2014. Ballmer has poured millions into the franchise to acquire equal footing with their city rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2019, the Clippers instantly became title favorites as they completed the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. However, four years later, the Clippers still haven’t won the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy.

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Recently, a popular host has questioned the Clippers for trading away a bright future with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for Paul George. Was it a huge mistake, or can the Clippers justify their decision?

Shannon Sharpe is critical of Clippers’ decision to trade away Shai

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Shannon Sharpe made an appearance on Gilbert Arenas’ podcast, Gil’s Arena. During a conversation with the host, Sharpe provided insights into the Clippers’ infamous 2019 offseason. He said, “I heard Doc (Rivers) was talking and he tried to explain. He’s like ‘you need to give this guy (Shai) a year’, and he (Kawhi) said ‘if you don’t get me PG, I’mma go to the team across the hallway’, and they could ill afford that… I understand they had to make the move and they gave up a king’s ransom to get PG.”

Initially, the trade appeared mutually beneficial for both teams. However, in hindsight, it has become increasingly lopsided, given the Clippers’ failure to secure an NBA title, while Shai has blossomed into an MVP-caliber player in Oklahoma. Nevertheless, the Clippers fans could still find solace in the fact that their beloved franchise could still win a title with Kawhi and PG. In the last couple of weeks, the Clippers have been the most in-form team in the league. Things are finally starting to click between their superstars, and a deep postseason run looks extremely likely at the moment.

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Are the Clippers a title contender?

The Clippers started the season in abysmal form. However, since Ty Lue shifted James Harden to the point guard position, the Clippers have witnessed a marked improvement in their performances and results. They currently occupy the 4th spot in the Western Conference standings, with 18 wins and 12 losses. The Clippers are finding their groove just at the right moment of the season.

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LA is one of the best offensive teams in the NBA. They have recorded an offensive rating of 118.4, which is the 10th-best in the league. They are also one of the best teams from beyond the arc. Currently, they have recorded a 3-point percentage of 38.1% (as a team), the 4th-best mark in the league. Their title window is closing, and the Clippers need to win one desperately to establish their status and justify their expensive moves. Otherwise, their enormous gamble on Kawhi, PG, and Harden would have failed. Can the Clippers win the 2024 title? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by:

Dushyant Singh

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Dushyant Singh is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. His basketball script journey began in 2020 when he was captivated by the Los Angeles Lakers? triumphant NBA championship win. Before that he was merely dribbling and dunking as a boy next door.
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Edited by:

Ruth John

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