Kawhi Leonard’s decision immediately affects the Brooklyn Nets

Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The late-night decision from Kawhi Leonard to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers will have immediate effects on the Brooklyn Nets and the rest of the Eastern Conference.

Los Angeles, California was hit with a shocking turn of events for one of their basketball teams late Friday night, and surprisingly it wasn’t the Lakers. In a move that affects contenders in both conferences which now includes the Brooklyn Nets for the upcoming season, Kawhi Leonard has decided to join the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the deal for Kawhi also includes a blockbuster trade for his new superstar running mate Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Clippers are sending the Thunder multiple draft picks unprotected (2022, 2024 and 2026), including their 2021 and protected 2023 first-round picks from the Miami Heat. Oklahoma City will also have the right to swap picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari are the active players from the Clippers going to Oklahoma City in this wild deal that will be addressed throughout many future drafts.

Leonard’s deal is reportedly valued at four-year, $142 million and his pairing with last season’s MVP candidate George has the Clippers pushed into the contender’s column with their Staples Center co-tenant. The Toronto Raptors’ chances of repeating took a severe hit and probably hurt their status as a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference opening the door for a retooled Nets team poised to take the next step. Kyrie Irving along with a battle-tested supporting cast should be enough to propel Brooklyn ahead of Toronto in the standings assuming injuries don’t play a role during the season.

The Nets will most likely be without superstar Kevin Durant this upcoming season, but upon his return, the division should be a battle with the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. Toronto also lost sharpshooter Danny Green to the Lakers after Kawhi’s announcement further pushing the defending champions to look for reinforcements if they are to have any hopes of contending in the division.

Another player heading out to the Lakers that may have helped the Nets get the upper hand in free agency is Jared Dudley who is very popular around the league for his opinions. In a recent interview, Dudley explained how he sold his good friend DeAndre Jordan on the Nets franchise from the coaches to the front office.

"“Hey, DeAndre’s a good friend of mine. I told him all the good, it’s 95% good over there,” Dudley said on ESPN’s “The Woj Pod” podcast. “It’s one of the best practice facilities in the league. You can live in the city, because most players want to live in New York City and go there, they don’t have to drive an hour to Westchester, to the Knicks’ practice facility. They have one of the best training staffs over there. It’s probably triple the size, more than any [other team], 15-20 trainers from Australia to Canada, they bring them from all over.”"

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"“Sean Marks does a phenomenal job. Great player development. Kenny Atkinson’s a hard worker. They’re missing a superstar, that’s what they were missing. … You’ve got to have some of that. I told [Jordan] that. He was talking about the Knicks. Kevin Durant’s out, the Knicks are going to be bad. Let’s be honest, the Knicks are going to be bad.”"

Kawhi is a Los Angeles native and always had rumors swirling around him about returning home much to the appreciation of the Nets he fulfilled that desire.