LeBron James and Lakers Sold Their Future – Are Kawhi Leonard and Clippers Going the Same Way?

Published 08/16/2021, 6:30 PM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) and Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (2) chase the ball during an NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 111-106. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)


The L.A. Clippers have parted with what presumably was the final core piece of their roster prior to the Kawhi Leonard era. With the signing of the guard, Eric Bledsoe, L.A. lost Patrick Beverley, a key piece of the Clippers roster in 2018-19. In fact, with the onset of the Kawhi-PG era, the franchise looking to compete with the Lakers dealt away its entire core in Lou Williams, Montrezl, SGA, Gallinari and Beverley.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

This trend opens the door to an age-old question. So what really is the right approach? Is it worth the resources to build a future-driven championship program from scratch, compared to adopting a ‘win now’ mindset, even it means leveraging your future?

The Lakers have been staunch believers in the latter, with the 17x champions historically attributing most of their success to the ‘win now’ formula.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday, December 22, 2020 – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates with teammates after receiving their NBA Championship rings at Staples Center. (Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Most NBA teams nowadays are abiding by the same formula, trading or acquiring superstars for young talent in free agency. However, only 1 man, gets absolutely berated for it.

DIVE DEEPER

Reggie Jackson Makes Major Sacrifice To Re-sign With Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers

about 2 months ago

While experts around the league have criticized LeBron James for trading away all of the team’s youth yet again following the Lakers‘ offseason moves, the Clippers have done the same thing, so have Brooklyn! Is there bias setting in?

Lakers, Clippers, Nets? All in the same boat

Irrespective of right or wrong, L.A. won their 17th title courtesy of a signing that dealt Zo, BI and Josh Hart in 2019, as they brought on Anthony Davis. Can Russ bring the Lakers’ 18th?

As it came to in the Brooklyn Nets trade for James Harden, Brooklyn leveraged its young core, including Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, also letting go of Spencer Dinwiddie in free agency. The same trend unfolded with the Clippers, as Leonard forced the front office’s hand in trading away their future for Paul George.

In a ridiculous asking price, OKC has bled the Clippers dry via draft picks and a young core now flourishing in Atlanta. 2 seasons and playoff failures after they acquired the superstar duo, role players Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, both former 6th Men of the Year, now find themselves donning a different jersey.

The modern era

Fact of the matter is, as the players already have come to terms with, the NBA is a business. And sometimes, with the bigger picture of a championship in mind, players tend to value experience and championship pedigree over anything else.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday, December 22, 2020 – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) and Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) talk during a break in the action against the Clippers at Staples Center. (Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

And given the success LeBron James has had before, he like his contemporaries in Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard knows what matters most at the highest level.

DIVE DEEPER

NBA Analyst Explains Why LeBron James Would Give Up on Russell Westbrook

about 1 month ago

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Given the Lakers’ latest moves, trading the core for Russ, then acquiring age old veterans, there is no doubt what James and L.A. are gunning for this season. Question is, will they remain healthy?

Watch This Story – Kawhi Leonard/Paul George and Other Top NBA Duos from This Season

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Nikhil Naik

170 articles

Nikhil Naik is an NBA writer at EssentialySports. Having completed his bachelor's degree in Hospitality, he has worked with the Indian Hotels Company Limited, at the Taj in Mumbai. Nikhil has been playing basketball since 2014.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT