As the NBA readies itself for the Christmas Day showcase, the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be taking a page from another winter holiday: Festivus.
The Lakers play the Clippers during primetime on the league's premier holiday. But rather than focusing on the game at hand, new reports have drawn attention to the free agency battle that took place between the two teams – and the Toronto Raptors – during July.
It truly feels like an airing of grievances.
Per a report from The Athletic, the Lakers believe that Kawhi Leonard's uncle Dennis Robertson made some untoward requests during the free agency process and that Leonard's interest in the Lakers was misrepresented.
Here are their complaints:
- Robertson asked the Lakers for an ownership stake.
- Robertson wanted a private plane available at all times.
- The Lakers were asked to establish a guaranteed amount of endorsement money for Leonard.
- Robertson questioned why the Lakers gave Magic Johnson a percentage of ownership back in the 1990s.
- The Lakers were made to feel like they were used for leverage when Leonard intended to sign with the Clippers all along.
The Lakers felt so wronged that an investigation into the Clippers' free agency process was conducted this offseason based on the presumption that Robertson was out of line. Nothing came up, but the NBA did strengthen its tampering rules.
Much like a Festivus airing of grievances, this report was published in the midst of the holidays, with the Clippers forced to listen to all the problems the Lakers have with them.
Not included on that list was the fact that the Clippers dominated the Lakers in the two teams' first matchup on opening night, despite the fact that the Clippers were missing Paul George. The Lakers are in desperate need of a win on Christmas, having lost three games in a row, and they certainly didn't need to provide extra motivation to a Clippers team that already proved superior the first time around.
Now that the grievances have been expressed, the two teams move on to the feats of strength. Festivus won't end until someone is able to take down Kawhi Leonard, and that's a feat no NBA team has accomplished in quite some time.