The Los Angeles Clippers dominated the off-season headlines after signing Kawhi Leonard in free agency and trading for Paul George.
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But things could have looked a lot different in Clipper-land, before George requested to be traded.
As they attempted to make a deal for another star to pair with the reigning Finals MVP, the Clippers reportedly inquired about trading for Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, according to The Athletic's Jovan Buha, Sam Amick and Shams Charania, before being told both players were not available by their respective teams.
The Clippers reportedly also discussed the potential of pairing Leonard with Jimmy Butler or Kevin Durant, two players he had expressed interest in teaming up with, but soon Butler was signed by the Miami Heat and Durant the Brooklyn Nets, leaving the Clippers in limbo amidst the free-agent game of musical chairs.
While there was no guarantee Leonard was coming to the Clippers, they knew finding him a star teammate was the best avenue to pitch them as a destination set to contend for a championship.
They then moved to Paul George once they learned of his desire to leave OKC, trading Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a host of draft picks to secure Leonard's running mate for the next few years.
Although many reports indicated that Leonard was heavily recruiting George to join him in Los Angeles, Charania noted that it is 'not accurate', however once the deal appeared to be gaining traction, the two stars discussed their potential together and the deal was done.
Russell Westbrook soon followed George out the door in Oklahoma City, joining Harden in Houston in exchange for Chris Paul, while the Wizards are committed to keeping Beal, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard is set to offer him a three-year, $111 million contract extension.