Report: Russell Westbrook called Kawhi Leonard in 2019 to team up in L.A.; Kawhi called Paul George to team up with him instead - Lakers Daily

Report: Russell Westbrook called Kawhi Leonard in 2019 to team up in L.A.; Kawhi called Paul George to team up with him instead

Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

It appears Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook wanted to play with Los Angeles Clippers titan Kawhi Leonard a couple of years ago.

However, Leonard rebuffed Westbrook’s proposition, and instead linked up with Paul George.

“Westbrook had become a father of three the previous November, and while he’d made a home and carved a Hall of Fame legacy in Oklahoma City, the chance to live and play in Los Angeles, where grandparents and his large extended family and friends could visit every day, held deep appeal,” wrote Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

“Teaming up with Leonard would be the fastest way there, so he placed the call, according to multiple sources. But Leonard didn’t just take the call as one native son of Los Angeles to another, ponder it and file it away.

“He used it.

“According to multiple sources, Leonard then called Westbrook’s teammate in Oklahoma City, Paul George, and told him he’d rather team up with him on a homecoming.”

Leonard, 30, was at the center of free agency in the summer of 2019.

The forward had just come off winning a title with the Toronto Raptors against the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. His superstar services were coveted by a few teams, including the Clippers and Lakers.

Westbrook, a California native, saw Leonard’s potential landing in Los Angeles as a way to get back to his home state. At the time, Westbrook had only played for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Things obviously didn’t work out in Westbrook’s favor. Leonard recruited George, who the Clippers gave up a king’s ransom for in the summer of 2019.

Of course, George’s departure from Oklahoma City vitiated the Thunder’s contention caliber. As a result, the Thunder shipped Westbrook to the Houston Rockets.

Now, Westbrook is in Los Angeles and on the other side of Leonard. Westbrook and Leonard’s little exchange and rejection certainly adds a fascinating wrinkle to the impending Lakers-Clippers battles next season.