Everyone knows the story of how Kawhi Leonard hand-picked Paul George to be his partner in LA, but no one knows the story of how he picked George over Russell Westbrook.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN revealed a fantastic story about how Russell Westbrook initially made a call to Kawhi Leonard about joining him in LA. Westbrook was the one who first wanted to leave the Thunder, not Paul George. Once Kawhi received Westbrook's call, he realized it was open season in Oklahoma City. So Kawhi then called Paul George and decided to have him be his partner in LA instead of Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook calling Kawhi Leonard in 2019 created a chain of events that caused a huge domino effect:
- Kawhi Leonard gets Paul George to join him with the Clippers
- Russell Westbrook goes to Houston
- Chris Paul goes to Oklahoma City
- James Harden goes to Brooklyn
- Russell Westbrook goes to Washington
- Chris Paul gets his first NBA Finals with Phoenix
- Russell Westbrook becomes a Laker.
If Kawhi Leonard decided to have Russell Westbrook join him in LA instead of Paul George, none of these things may have happened - that's how crazy the domino effect in the NBA is.
Kawhi Leonard has yet to taste the ultimate success with the LA Clippers after lobbying for Paul George. Injuries got in the way of that in 2021, and may possibly get in the way during 2022. Hopefully, Kawhi can return at some point during the season from his ACL surgery.