Wednesday morning, news broke that the LA Clippers were officially inking Kawhi Leonard to a new three-year contract extension. The move ends any questions about whether the hometown superstar wants to remain in LA, and will allow the Clippers to continue building a championship contender in the coming years.
Of course, the only fan base that paid as much attention to this news as Clippers fans was Lakers fans. The cross-town rivalry in LA is intense, and both fan bases will take any opportunity they can to take a dig at the other for anything that they perceive to be a misstep.
Lakers writer Jason Reed wrote about why he believes this move will come crashing down around the Clippers, and many fans took to social media to express their skepticism for the extension as well.
Of course, many of these arguments are nothing more than laughable to those who have followed the Clippers this season and know the talent of Kawhi Leonard. Questioning whether Leonard has actually elevated the Clippers can only be perceived as a poorly-constructed joke.
Without Kawhi signing with LA in 2019, Paul George never makes it to the Clippers either. Without the two of those on the roster, the Clippers would have likely been a bottom-dweller in the Western Conference once again. And claiming that Leonard has been "injured more than he's been on the court" is just simply false.
Comments of the Clippers having "nothing to show" for the Kawhi era in LA are also misplaced. No, they have not won a championship in the last five years like their cross-town rivals, but they have made their first ever Western Conference Finals appearance while coming within two wins of their first NBA Finals appearance as well.
The Clippers took the same opportunity in 2019 that any NBA franchise would have in bringing on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. It has brought them more success than nearly every other team in the league during that stretch, and has them in the category of top-tier championship contender in January 2024.
Any franchise in their position would have taken the same action and paid Kawhi to keep their championship window open. With that being said, it is anything but surprising to see Lakers fans react in this way. Yes, they are the more historic and accomplished franchise, but their fans are clearly bothered by the Clippers stealing any of the spotlight.