It seems NBA star Kawhi Leonard has finally made up his mind as he is reported to be departing Toronto for his native California where his basketball career started over two decades ago. Multiple reports surfaced Saturday about Leonard leaving the reigning NBA champions Toronto Raptors to join the Los Angeles Clippers in a four-year deal worth at least $142 million.

Back to California

If the reports are indeed true, Leonard’s departure from the Raptors will be first for a reigning NBA Finals' Most Valuable Player to change team, according to the Associated Press.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the Clippers are also getting Oklahoma Thunder small forward Paul George in a trade that enabled Thunder to have four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick, and two-pick swaps.

Clippers’ swift move was to prevent Leonard from joining the Los Angeles Lakers, who are also interested in getting the services of former San Antonio Spurs player. The Lakers have been looking for a third star to join LeBron James and new recruit Anthony Davis, and the Toronto Raptors’ small forward has been on top of their list.

Averaging 28 points, Leonard led the Raptors in dethroning the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, the first for the Canadian team since joining the league in 1995.

From San Antonio Spurs

In the 2011 NBA draft, Leonard was selected by the Indiana Pacers as the 15th overall pick but was immediately traded to the San Antonio Spurs with two others in exchange for George Hill. In 2013, after signing a multi-year deal with San Antonio two years earlier, Leonard helped the Spurs advanced to the NBA Finals, facing James and the Miami Heat. Averaging 14.6 points and 11.1 rebounds, Leonard and the Spurs lost the series.

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The following year, the Spurs and the Miami Heat met again in the NBA Finals with Leonard raising his average output to 17 points. This time, the Spurs exacted revenge on the Heat as they went on to win the championship in Game 5. Leonard also won his first NBA Finals MVP, the third-youngest to bag the award.

Paul George

George, who was the NBA Most Improved Player in 2013, started his professional career with the Indiana Pacers who selected him as 10th overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft.

Despite wanting to play with the LA Lakers, Southern California native George was traded to the Thunder in 2017 in spite of his pending free agent status.

In 2018, with his interest in the Lakers fading, George decided to stay with the Thunder, re-signing with the team to a four-year, $137 million deal, ESPN reported.

Clippers a team to beat

With Leonard and George, Clippers suddenly emerged as title contenders. The two will have plenty of help from Louis Tyrone Williams, the winner of the NBA's 2019 Sixth Man of the Year award.

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