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 Vogel. Mike 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.