Pacific Notes: Leonard, George, Caruso, Kings

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George may have permanently altered the perception of the two teams in Los Angeles, writes Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times. At one time, Leonard and George were both considered to be future Lakers. They were two stars who grew up in the L.A. area and wanted to leave their smaller-market teams for the comforts of home. That’s where they wound up, but they’re both Clippers.

Markazi recounts the history of the two franchises and how unbalanced the rivalry has been since the Clippers moved west. The Lakers had the stars, the famous fans and the titles, with 33 playoff appearances, 16 trips to the Finals and 10 championships from 1976 to 2011. Over that same time, the Clippers had just three winning seasons and made the playoffs four times.

The “Lob City” years and the purchase of the team by Steve Ballmer helped changed the balance of power as the Lakers fell onto hard times. Now with George and Leonard together on one side of Staples Center and LeBron James and Anthony Davis roaming the other, there finally appears to be a real rivalry.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers will sign Alex Caruso with part of their $4.8MM room exception, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. A full day of signings on Saturday plus the Davis trade left the team a little more than $1MM below the salary cap, and Marks believes that money may be used to give second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker a contract longer than two years. Dudley, Daniels and Rajon Rondo will all sign veteran’s minimum deals, Marks adds (Twitter link).
  • The Warriors had “significant interest” in Caruso before he opted to return to the Lakers, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
  • The Lakers risk another “reality show” season with their flurry of signings in the wake of losing out on Leonard, observes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. L.A.’s front office was heavily criticized last summer for not surrounding James with more shooters, and although they improved in that area this year with Danny Green, Jared Dudley, Troy Daniels and Quinn Cook, only Green has proven to be a reliable two-way player. Goodwill is also concerned about the lack of young talent, with Kyle Kuzma left as the only prominent player with a chance to improve.
  • The Kings continue to move toward GM Vlade Divac‘s vision of a faster and deeper team with this year’s free agent signings, notes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Sacramento added veteran help for its young core by re-signing Harrison Barnes and adding Dewayne Dedmon, Trevor Ariza, Cory Joseph and Richaun Holmes.
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9 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Leonard, George, Caruso, Kings

  1. yoyo137

    Crazy how far the Clippers have come since Donald Sterling’s racist comments. Success really does begin with stable ownership.

  2. Down with OBP

    You mean a franchise has to do more than rely on just their name?

  3. Jmac2020

    This team still wont do much, clippers make playoffs but most likely 1st round exits. Then in 4/5 years when kawhi and george leave for greener pastures the clips will be unable to rebuild due to mortgaging all the future assets that actually look good.

  4. Dark14ry

    Mortgaging all future assets? They gave up 3 1st rounders of their own and 2 that came from the Harris deal.
    The 2 of their 3 1st rounders they gave are during the KL/PG contracts so they will most likely be low 1st rounders which are crap shots.

    So Clippers didnt do anything drastic to make this happen except give up the Miami pick, but if they get Weatbrrok to play with Butler, that pick will be low 1st also.

  5. Lets be Honest for a minute. The Kings made pretty good strides last year, and with the FA acquisitions they made, I don’t see them making the playoffs this year due to all the FA big names going down to LA. Unless one or both of them teams self implode down there, my opinion we are in a very bad position. Not to say Golden State is still up at the top. I see us 4th in the Pacific and Zero Playoffs again.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      If they don’t make the playoffs they have a ton of trade chips at the deadline. This is a deep roster.

      PG- Fox
      SG- Hield
      SF- Barnes
      PF- Bagley
      C – Dedmon

      Bench: Bogdanovic, Giles, Joseph, Ariza, Holmes, Ferrell and Bjelica.

      Bogdon, Ariza and Dedmon could all fetch them a 1st.

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