The Clippers shocked the world by pulling Paul George away from Oklahoma City and signing Kawhi Leonard last summer. When asked about the days leading up to Kawhi's decision on Tuesday, LeBron James told the assembled media that he believed the Lakers had a chance of signing Leonard.
"Yeah, I'm a positive guy," James said when asked if he thought Kawhi might sign with the Lakers. Despite this optimism, LeBron understands that nothing is official in NBA free agency until someone signs on the dotted line. So he wasn't shocked by Kawhi's decision to move forward with the Clippers. "I'm not surprised by anything, to be honest...I don't get too excited until things are actually happening," James said. "We had a chance and that's all you can really ask for. We put ourselves in a position to have a chance to get him. When he went to the Clippers, I thought it was just as cool. He had to do what was best for him."
Anthony Davis also spoke about Leonard's decision, saying that he may have “overstepped his boundaries” in trying to recruit him to the Lakers.
Kawhi's decision to bypass the Lakers to sign with the Clippers only thickened tensions in the Staples Center. With a healthy LeBron and the newly acquired Davis, the Lakers are looking to end their playoff drought and regain the upper hand in their rivalry against the Clippers. Across the hall, the Clippers are hoping to make a deep playoff run that they hope will end in a championship. The first chapter in the battle of L.A. will kick off tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET.