Clippers' Free Agency Disaster Proves They'll Always Be Lakers' Little Brothers

The championship pursuit of the Los Angeles Clippers with the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George duo is officially over.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Clippers acquired the star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the 2019 offseason, the expectations were sky-high. Leonard was coming off a championship run with the Toronto Raptors and George had just wrapped up an MVP-caliber season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The franchise that had never made the conference finals before was finally becoming a surefire title contender.

Fast forward to today. Paul George just left for Philadelphia after the Clippers have only won three playoff series in that span, and are back to being a mediocre Western Conference team with no hopes of championship contention.

Letting George sign with the Sixers in free agency was a baffling decision by the Clippers front office, especially after giving Leonard a three-year max extension back in January and signing James Harden to a two-year, $70 million deal on Sunday.

The reporting out of LA suggests that George was willing to stay with the Clippers if they gave him the four-year maximum contract he was demanding. For some reason, the Clippers drew the line in the sand and only offered him a three-year deal that would keep him on the same timeline as Leonard. This reportedly forced PG13 out of California to join forces with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

Paul George was the best player on the Clippers last season and has been the most productive member of the team over the last couple of years while Kawhi Leonard consistently dealt with injuries come postseason. Letting him walk without getting anything in return is an absolute disaster, especially considering how they could have engineered multiple sign-and-trade scenarios with other interested teams like the Golden State Warriors.

Now, the Clippers have injury-prone Leonard, aging Harden, and a bunch of solid role players. That team is a first-round exit team at best in the healthiest scenario. Running it back and not rebuilding despite George's exit is hard to understand.

What is not hard to understand, however, is the fact that Los Angeles belongs to the Lakers once again. The Lakers won more playoff series over the last five years, in the period when the Clippers were supposed to have the most success in franchise history. That should only continue for the foreseeable future.

More Lakers news and rumors: