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Clippers to sign Kawhi Leonard, trade for Paul George

By
Jake Elman
Kawhi Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in his lone season with the Toronto Raptors. File Photo by Nicole Sweet/UPI
Kawhi Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in his lone season with the Toronto Raptors. File Photo by Nicole Sweet/UPI | License Photo

July 6 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Clippers stunned the NBA world Saturday morning by agreeing to terms with free agent forward Kawhi Leonard and tentatively completing a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for MVP finalist Paul George.

ESPN and The Athletic reported Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, will sign a four-year, $141 million max contract with the Clippers. Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in his lone season with the Toronto Raptors last season.

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Leonard added 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in 24 playoff games as the Raptors won their first NBA title. The 28-year-old is a three-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Only minutes after the news of Leonard signing with the Clippers broke just before 2 a.m. EDT Saturday, ESPN and The Athletic reported Los Angeles was acquiring George. The veteran forward averaged 28 points and 8.2 rebounds in 77 games with the Thunder last season.

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Both are California natives. Leonard was born in Los Angeles and was drafted from San Diego State University. George was born in Palmdale, Calif., and played college basketball at Fresno State.

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George has two years and $68 million remaining on his contract. He also has a $37.8 million player option for the 2021-22 season.

The Clippers are sending four unprotected first-round picks (2021 via Miami, 2022, 2024, and 2026), one protected first-round pick (2023), the right to swap two draft picks in 2023 and 2025, forward Danilo Gallinari and point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Thunder.

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The Clippers went 48-34 last season before losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

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