Paul George reveals how the Clippers' 213 era almost never happened

According to the Clippers' former star, George and Leonard nearly didn't team up in Los Angeles.
Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LA Clippers
Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LA Clippers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With Paul George now in Philadelphia, an era has come to an end in Los Angeles. The Clippers' "213" era with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George captaining the ship is no more, and a new chapter will begin for Clippers basketball. So far, the front office has already made several solid moves that should lead to future success.

But up until recently, many Clippers fans probably did not know that the last five years nearly did not feature either Leonard or George in LA. The two famously joined forces in the 2019 offseason, with Kawhi departing the championship Raptors team he led, and PG leaving behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for what they both saw as a slam dunk opportunity.

On his most recent podcast, George revealed how he and Leonard almost joined up in Toronto instead of Los Angeles. After the Raptors took down the Warriors for the 2019 title, Paul says he texted Kawhi telling him congratulations. Soon after, Leonard called George asking him what he was planning to do in the offseason.

Leonard and George almost joined forced in Toronto in 2019

According to George, the conversation involved Kawhi subtly trying to lure PG to join him, and led to the two figuring out how to make a pairing work, but not even necessarily in Los Angeles. "I was close to going to Toronto," said George. "Like, we were deciding to go to Toronto or the Clippers. Ultimately, the Clippers put a better trade package together that sent me to LA. But I was close. He was going to re-sign in Toronto, and we were going to go to Toronto."

Of course, if the star duo had figured out how to make things work better with the Raptors, the last five seasons would have looked a lot different for the Clippers, but also for the NBA as a whole. Toronto was coming off a championship in 2019, and many think Kawhi opting to return there would have made them championship favorites in 2020.

Adding Paul George into the mix may have given them overwhelming odds to win the title the next year and into the future. We will never know for sure what would have happened, but we do know that Clippers fans had a lot more enjoyable experience because of the way things played out in reality.