The NBA Draft took place on Thursday night, and while there were some trades involving draft picks, there wasn't a lot of action by teams when it comes to veterans. San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard stayed put - despite reportedly telling the franchise he wants a trade.
FOX Sports 1 personality Jason Whitlock has an interesting take on where Kawhi Leonard - and LeBron James, for that matter, will wind up. Whitlock thinks both are headed to Los Angeles - to play for the Clippers. That's right - he thinks both superstars will wind up on Los Angeles' second team.
Why? Whitlock believes that Jerry West, who works for the Clippers these days, will out-duel his former franchise for both players.
Here's what he had to say:
"When it comes to the pursuit of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, West will be as heartless and greedy as Nino Brown. I think he's going to land them both. I really do. Think about it. Owner Steve Ballmer, executive Jerry West and head coach Doc Rivers. That trio is far superior to Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson and Luke Walton.
Ballmer has far more money than the Buss family. West's experience helped to shape the Golden State Warriors and the Shaq-Kobe Lakers trumps anything that Magic has accomplished as a sports executive. And Doc Rivers' resume towers over Luke Walton's.
Leonard has told the Spurs that he wants to play in Los Angeles. Okay, I'm sure he'd prefer to play for the Lakers. But Kawhi's preference won't matter to the Spurs. They'll be only interested in assets. The Lakers assets aren't all that inviting - particularly Lonzo Ball.
But Tobias Harris, Lou Williams, the two lottery picks the Clippers have tonight are all interesting pieces.
More important than any of that, where I think the Clippers are going to really win this war is with their pitch to LeBron James. LeBron has an enormous problem. He desperately wants to catch Michael Jordan in the race for the greatest of all-time. He's highly unlikely to catch him in number of titles. LeBron has big stains on his reputation with his quirky, weird behavior and attitude in big playoff series. Breaking out the cast after getting swept in this year's Finals was a huge mistake.
So how can LeBron gain ground on Jordan? If he came to L.A. and made the perennial also-ran Clippers bigger than the Lakers. Winning a title or two in a Clippers uniform is a narrative his supporters could sell. LeBron disrupting the Lakers' stranglehold on L.A. and the Warriors' dynasty would definitely put LeBron back in the G.O.A.T. conversation.
Winning titles with the Lakers won't be nearly as compelling. He'd just be doing what Wilt, Kareem and Shaq have already done. LeBron would be playing in the shadow of Magic and Kobe. Lead the Clippers? They'd call the new arena that Ballmer wants to build in Inglewood "The House That LeBron Built."
Here's video of Whitlock's entire piece on the matter:
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Thursday that James is down to either the Lakers or the Cavs. That said, you have to take all of these reports with a grain of salt. It does make sense that LeBron would either want to stay in Cleveland or take a shot on L.A. - but which L.A. team is the biggest question.