L.A. Notes: Leonard, Green, Lakers’ Coaches, Kuzma

The Lakers felt betrayed by Kawhi Leonard in the free agent process, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his latest podcast (hat tip to Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports). Some members of the team’s front office believe Leonard “played” them as he negotiated a deal with the Clippers. Leonard didn’t announce his intentions until July 6, causing the Lakers to miss out on other free agents while they were waiting.

The Raptors weren’t happy with the way things worked out either, Windhorst adds, saying that Leonard asked for “the sun, the moon, the stars” before deciding to leave.

“I kind of think they were all still in the game, and they all felt like they were still in the game,” Windhorst said. “If Toronto did not still feel like they were in the game, they would not have sent the plane for him, they would not have done the big presentation. If the Lakers didn’t think that they were still in the game, they would not have delayed the Anthony Davis trade like they did to wait and see if they could get him.” 

There’s more today from Los Angeles:

  • Leonard not only convinced Paul George to ask for a trade to the Clippers, he helped recruit other players and convinced JaMychal Green to stay, Shams Charania states in an insiders roundtable for The Athletic. Green turned down more lucrative offers to accept a two-year, $10MM pact with L.A.
  • The Lakers are rounding out the staff for new coach Frank VogelMike Penberthy, who played for the team in 2000 and 2001, will be hired as a shooting coach, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Penberthy served the same role last season on Alvin Gentry’s staff with the Pelicans. Also set to be hired is Quinton Crawford, who worked with Vogel in Orlando and spent last year with the Hornets, relays Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is in the market for a new agent, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Kuzma is leaving Mark Bartelstein and Zach Kurtin of Priority Sports and Entertainment in hopes of finding new representatives to promote his business interests. He hasn’t started meeting with new agents yet.
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41 thoughts on “L.A. Notes: Leonard, Green, Lakers’ Coaches, Kuzma

  1. jeremy

    You can say it goes both ways. Lakers got played and lakers played themselves by waiting . But in the end Lakers are better off without kawhi. It better to have two stars and depth. Than 3 stars and no depth

      • imindless

        Nobodys? Lmao kuzma, cousins, green, bradley ain’t nobody’s….this is the same guy that said ad and irving would be on celtics. keep the hate going

      • jeremy

        Green who may or may not have two rings, rondo who has a ring with Boston , cousins a super star before the injures, Bradley one of the better defenders. Those aren’t nobodies

      • myaccount

        Honestly, it’s not far-fetched and I’m saying this from an unbiased perspective. Kawhi needs the ball in his hands and LBJ needs the ball in his hands. They could figure that out, I’m sure, but they wouldn’t have been able to afford all the top notch depth if Kawhi signed (Green, Cousins, Rondo, Bradley, Kuzma on the rookie scale, KCP, etc.)

        They would be extremely vulnerable in the playoffs if one of LBJ, AD, or Kawhi got hurt/in early foul trouble/slumped. It wouldn’t be as easy to replicate the success of Miami’s big 3 in the west which is loaded with talent teams 1-10, whereas the east was a cake walk for the Miami big 3.

  2. tharrie0820

    Kind of like how the Lakers played NO in the whole Anthony Davis thing #Karma

    • Chris

      How’d the Lakers play the Pelicans? They offered them the entire roster. Pelicans waited and got less

      • Codeeg

        Yea they could’ve had the number 4 pick and more picks had the lakers not lucked out on a valuable asset.

    • hinglemccringleberry

      Played them like how? Giving up the whole team the first time or giving up 3 good players and a bunch of first round draft picks? Please learn about basketball before you comment.

      • tharrie0820

        By having one of their players tamper with him and force him to the Lakers?

  3. Strike Four

    Literally hand delivers the city a title and gets chastised for wanting a lot to keep his services. The disrespect, smh.

    • Theone23

      He didn’t hand deliver anything. Raptors got kawhi a chip as much as he got the Raptors a chip.

      • lagerbagels

        Yeah but Kawhi already had one, whereas this was the franchise and even nation’s first ever. Much different stakes / levels of appreciation

      • amk3510

        So its just a major coincidence the 1 year they have Kawhi is when they win the chip? Just ignore the 5 years of playoff experience before that huh

        • myaccount

          amk, what are you even trying to argue? No, it isn’t a major coincidence because Kawhi put them over the top. Is that what you’re implying? Because following it up with the 5 years of playoff experience makes it seem like you don’t think Kawhi is the reason they won it all.

          • amk3510

            Im literally saying he was the reason they won it all. I was replying to a comment that made it seem like he wasnt

      • raisethejollyroger

        The raptors with Kawhis help got hand delivered a chip via Thompson and Durant injuries. Even so they still struggled to win it.

    • And conversely, Toronto gave him what he needed, managed his workload, protected him from injury, gave him a deep roster that could maximize his talents, an organization that went out of its way to get him to where he needed to be. You can understand why people might be a little sour. His decision to leave is not the problem, it’s the way he did it by keeping three teams guessing for a week and fighting over each other that was.

  4. What is with these reports of front offices getting their feelings hurt when FA’s doing sign with them? At some point, they can only control the offer and presentation they make to a player. It’s not personal.

  5. nlikeflynn

    I personally think the NBA should have rules against players colluding or playing a team, feels like enemy from within. If a team were to play Kawhi like this the union would be on full freakout

  6. Another amateur FO. Every time multiple teams pursue a FA, they’re all being played to a degree (even the team that ends up with him). Think how LeBron’s suitors felt when he went to Miami, and there it was apparently a done deal before any team presented anything to him. A elite FA like KL is holding the cards, and he’s going to keep all the contestants as interested as possible (even those with virtually no chance). Teams play at their own risk.

    • johnstodder

      Agree. Kawhi basically used the FA situation to create the best possible scenario for himself as a basketball player. This was his opportunity to play GM over his life and career. That’s what I love about the NBA. The money was a done deal. He looked at all three teams, where they were headed, and what he could add to them. Bringing himself plus PG13 to a 48-win team whose core had been playing together for two seasons already was the best move he had available.

      The Lakers could’ve dropped out at any time. If they had read Kawhi accurately, they would’ve known the were the backup choice. He didn’t want to play under LeBron, and he didn’t want a team that was just getting to know each other, or for an organization that regularly blew itself up. A little self-awareness could’ve save the Lakers this grief.

    • kevin

      didn’t LBJ go back to cavs and get a short term max deal like every year and the cavs had to wait n see if he would resign . most times the top FAs in the class hold the cards as they arnt trying to get a team to want them as teams already want them they just use that to make the best outcome for themselves

  7. Everyone knows the top FAs go off the board the minute the moratorium is lifted. I get he is the top prize in FA, but set a hard deadline and move on. Everyone but LAL could offer full max. The question is… who would LAL actually have targeted if they had full access to the rest of FAs… KD and Kyrie were off the board. Jimmy Butler or Kemba probably the ok only 2 that make any sense. Russell, but Nets already had the 5yr max deal going.

    I think they’d have ended up with Jimmy and a bunch of min contracts. Better than what they have currently.

  8. KL decided right when the moratorium was lifted as well (July 6). Maybe you mean the first day they can meet (July 1). KD (2016) and LBJ (2010 and 2014) decided well after July 1. KL at least had a good reason. Teams asked for meetings with him (he didn’t ask for them), and those could only occur after July 1. He did take a few days after the last meeting, but now we know why.

    There was nothing to prevent the Lakers from contacting other FAs, just because those guys announced on July 1, doesn’t mean the Lakers couldn’t have done whatever those other teams did prior to July 1 (I think they did with “indirectly approach” KI, he turned them down).

  9. greg1

    Really, I don’t have an issue with how the KL sweepstakes played out. Toronto had no cap room with or without him, and had just won a title. It sucks to see him go, but he accomplished exactly what Ujiri brought him to Toronto to do.

    Lakers are dumb for waiting and hoping, should have hopped on someone else knowing that Claw was not a guarantee. Clips were always going to wait as they were willing to roll back the same group next year if they didn’t land Claw.

  10. bowserhound

    All Kawhi did was reassure everyone in the league that he’s a head case. He thinks he’s some kind of genius chess player, but in reality he can’t even set up the checkers board.

    • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

      And yet, here he is… a head case with more championship rings than you, and possibly a higher salary than you. So, so weird…

  11. IslandFlava

    Kawhi just keeps proving how classless he is… He knows he can’t ever beat the LBJ/AD pairing, as he and PG-13 are way inferior… So he tries to undermine them! CLASSLESS!

  12. x%sure

    The Lakers dealt Wagner, Bonga and a third guy before they had to, to clear space. Is that regretted or a source of Kawhi-blaming? Maybe they were not in future plans anyway.

    They main reason the Lakers might miss a Jimmy Butler+ 12 min.wage players plan is because they sqaundered so much on KCP. After signing Butler they could have told Klutch, Min.wage or byebye.

    But I think Brogdon would be just as useful as Butler for less, leaving room for Cousins etc, and given the rumors on Kawhi, should have been targeted from day 1. I wonder who in the Laker braintrust was on the side of waiting for Kawhi.

    (TBH Early on last year I advocated Vucevic for their #3 but Cousins is a good risk and Mcgee had a good year and Orlando offered high for their center.)

    You look at a list of possibilities and getting Cousins, DannyG, Bradley, Dudley, Rondo, McGee,& Norvell looks pretty good.

    Looking at a list of the top 2019 FAs, and excepting 1)June-signers Butler & Brogdon, 2) duplicate 3/4/5s, 3)those who were never coming, and 4)bank-busters, IMO Terrence Ross was the top coulda-been at #24. Not bad!
    link to businessinsider.com

    • x%sure

      “4)bank busters” could be dropped. Kemba and the like were never likely, and some were not worth max anyway.

      The link is a good ranking– a top 50 not a mere top 10– but they stuck Mirotic & Oubre at the end. Other ommissions?– IMO McGee & Dudley.

      A Laker-centric breakdown:
      #4Butler 4/142, #5Walker 4/141, #9D’lo 4/117(S&T), #11Vucevic 4/100, #13Cousins 1/3.5, #15Brogdon 4/85(S&T), #20DannyGreen 2/15, #23Beverly 3/41, #24Ross 4/54, #30Dedmon 3/41, #36DelonWright rfa3/29, #40SethCurry 4/32, #44Hood 2/16, #46KCP 2/18, #48Rondo 2/5, McGee 2/8, Dudley 1/min, Bradley 2/10.
      Good grief did Lakers get deals.

      If they did not wait for Kawhi and instead went for a guard complement, I wonder who LAL could have lured.
      BROGDON with a PG promise and a 4/96?Lakers would not be able to add picks to their offer like Indy did. They would have to flat outbid the Bucks for the rfa and guess the amount needed. Also, wait until the 8th for an rfa to go through! And Brogdon would have to stall Indy knowing the Lakers would prefer Kawhi. On second thought Brogdon was never really available, like D’lo, due to S&Ts.

      People talked about BEVERLY like an add-on, but as a hyped offseason job #1, would a 3/50 work? (He said he was offered 5-10 more than the Clips’ 41.) That would still leave room for Cousins, Mcgee,& DannyG. The Lakers were probably too proud to make Beverly option #1 but if they did that– heck 3/42 would likely work if they put PatB in the official big3 photos–

      Basically PatB instead of Bradley.
      Sorry for the length I guess its Be Pelinka A Month Ago Day.

  13. Christopher Guzman

    Last year the Sixers and Cavs had an interview with LeBron’s representatives which would make you think they at least had a chance. Sure, his decision came quicker but the Lakers didn’t seem to mind when the shoe was on the other foot and they got their guy so I have no remorse for them.

  14. hoosierhysteria

    Fakers love sour grapes….makes good whine. You have a good roster and coach….shut up.

  15. Natergater77

    Big deal if he played them. The Lakers planned to form a newer version of LeBron, Wade and Bosh by getting KL and AD. Even the Heat trio failed their first year.

    All KL did was work things to get a 2nd star with him while the league divided up the good FA. The Clippers have a shot next year before KD returns and we actually could get a good competitive Finals

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