Winners and Losers: Kawhi Leonard

Since Kawhi Leonard’s Earth shattering move to the Los Angeles Clippers, some clear winners and losers have been revealed. Kawhi won the Toronto Raptors a championship, it was their first one in franchise history. The Raptors should feel happy he came, he never had to but he also gave it his all. He carried the Raptors to a championship and they were able to win it all with him. Retaining him was always going to be difficult, but they really couldn’t have done more in terms of success on the court.

Winner: Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are a clear winner here. Not much to discuss here other than they went from a playoff team with no stars to a Western Conference power house in just one night. It does seem as if Kawhi was always heading to the Clippers. From the beginning of free agency, it was always a two team battle and the Lakers sort of forced themselves into the conversation. Eventually Kawhi announced his decision and he is now a part of the Clippers.

Loser: Toronto Raptors

We are getting the clear answers out of the way first. A couple of weeks ago the Raptors were on top of the world as they had just won their first championship. Yet they still weren’t able to retain him. They did all they could. Does this mean they should regret the trade? Not at all. They got what every teams goal should be, that ring. Maybe it was just one, and you probably are not going to compete next season, but it doesn’t mean you should regret the move. Be grateful he came and worked hard to win every game. He didn’t sit out and pout the entire season, he poured his heart and soul into this season to win that for the entire country of Canada. Losing Kawhi is a huge blow to the Raptors, they still have a solid squad, but this next season is going to be a difficult one without a go-to scorer like Kawhi.

Winner: The NBA

This seems like an obvious winner to me as well, the NBA wins because this is the most balanced the teams have been. Most contenders have around two or three stars on each team, with a few teams that are an exception. But it should be an exciting next season because of how balanced the teams are. Also there are no clear winners, with the Lakers not getting Kawhi, people might actually watch the games instead of complaining the entire year that one team is unfair.

Loser: The New York Knicks

This is more so a dig at the Knicks because they lost out on nearly every single big name free agent this offseason. No the Knicks never had a chance at signing Kawhi. They probably never had a meeting set up with him. But, towards the end of #KawhiWatch, the Knicks conveniently stated that they were going to pull the plug on their meeting with Kawhi. In true Knicks fashion, they gave up on a meeting, that was probably never going to happen in the first place.

Winner: The Sixers and Bucks

The Sixers have gone back to the drawing board and retooled their entire roster. Getting Al Horford and retaining Tobias Harris we’re both huge moves. Getting something for Jimmy Butler, especially a solid three and d player like Josh Richardson should prove to be vital next season with a lineup that may eventually be exposed for its lack of shooters. Even with obvious problems, this should be one of the most interesting teams to watch next season.

The Bucks have retained a majority of their roster. Even though they did lose Nikola Mirotic, they should still be okay for next season. Bringing back Brook Lopez, and bringing in Robin Lopez should help a lot. As well as signing Thanasis, Giannis’s big brother to a two year, fully guaranteed contract, was interesting. On one hand you lose a roster spot, but on the other, you are playing the loyalty game. By signing Thanasis, you show Giannis you care about his well-being, as well as his families well-being. The East should be the Bucks to lose next season.

Loser: Russell Westbrook

Westbrook has been playing along side Paul George for the past two seasons. Kawhi then announces his decision to sign with the Clippers and then all of a sudden, Paul George is traded to the Clippers for an absurd amount of first round picks, as well as Danilo Gallinari and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander. This was one of the most shocking moves of the entire offseason, not only did the Thunder get maximum haul for PG13, but they also got a replacement for Westbrook. It was a brilliant trade for both sides, a rare win win situation. Westbrook is again, left alone by his teammates. This cannot be a coincidence anymore. Westbrook is difficult to play with and it shows as he is a stat hunter. He should be traded very soon though, so maybe a new home might do him some good.

Surprise Winner: The Los Angles Lakers

The Lakers may have gotten screwed over by “Fun Guy” Kawhi, but they bounced back really well. Retaining JaVale was key as he is a quick big that catches lobs and protects the rim. Then signing Quinn Cook and Avery Bradley should both help bolster the bench as well. Then the big fish, Demarcus Cousins was signed as well. Signing Boogie was a low risk, high reward move. The only move that didn’t make much sense was retaining Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. They overpaid him, they also probably shouldn’t have even taken a look at him. Even if you are desperate, KCP was never the answer. Even tho they signed KCP, this is a very good Laker team, even after the Clippers huge move, the Lakers have a slight edge.

The battle for LA is on, and when the dust settles in the West next season, it should be very interesting to see who is able to capture the championship. The West is LOADED next season. You could convince yourself to root for over half of the teams to win. Kawhi’s move was Thanos like, he created balance in the NBA, if you are an NBA fan, next season should be one of the most exciting in recent years.

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