During the 2018-19 NBA season, the Los Angeles Clippers had a ragtag roster that looked like it wasn’t quite good enough to make the playoffs.
But they won 48 games and took two games from the defending world champion Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, which led to optimism about their future.
That summer, as many expected, Kawhi Leonard wanted to come to the Clippers, but he reportedly wanted Paul George, who was then with the Oklahoma City Thunder, to come with him.
That meant the Clippers would have to somehow finagle a trade for George, but they were able to pull off exactly that.
George talked about his reaction to the trade when it went down that summer, per his podcast via Legion Hoops.
“I was in Las Vegas when [I was traded]… I went really hard that night. I think Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley were in Vegas at the time too… I was a childhood Clippers fan, so it just hit different.”
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) September 13, 2023
The Clippers gave up a lot for the 6-foot-8 All-Star forward, surrendering sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari, guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and a whopping seven first-round draft picks.
Instantly, many in the national media picked the Clippers as the overwhelming favorites to win it all in the 2019-20 season, and some felt they would become arguably the greatest defensive team in modern NBA history.
Instead, their defense was inconsistent, and they blew a 3-1 series lead and lost to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs.
In the four years since getting Leonard and George, L.A. has made just one trip to the Western Conference Finals.
A big culprit has been the fact that both stars have been regularly injured and have missed lots of games, including a good number of postseason games.
Meanwhile, Gilgeous-Alexander, who recently turned 25, averaged 31.4 points a game for the Thunder last season.
Perhaps the Clippers should’ve held on to him rather than go for the shiny quick fix of two oft-injured stars.NEXT: Clippers Show Picture Of Ty Lue Meeting 1 Star In The Gym