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Kawhi Leonard Says Every Media Report Was Wrong About His Offseason Plans


The Clippers are trying to dethrone the Lakers as Los Angeles' number one team and made two big moves this off-season to reach their goal. They signed reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George, giving them two superstars to go toe-to-toe with Lebron James and the Lakers.

On Wednesday, the Clippers introduced their two newest additions in a press conference and Leonard used it as a chance to take a shot at his crosstown rivals.

"As far as the last few years, as far as a basketball standpoint, the Clippers have been better. It's media, you know what I mean. They're gonna get the attention, they're the Los Angeles Lakers, they've been winning championships for a long time."

Leonard isn't wrong in his assessment. Despite signing Lebron James, the Lakers have failed to win 40 games in a season since 2013, which was also the last time they made the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Clippers have made the playoffs in five of the previous six seasons, though they have not made it out of the second round.

The Clippers hope that the additions of Leonard and George can get them over the hump and win an NBA Championship.

After the press conference, Leonard told Yahoo! Sports that he was considering signing a deal with the Lakers.

"If they didn't want to wait for me, they didn't have to," he explained. "They had a big opportunity to sign me. [The Lakers] were close, but I ended up on the other side."

He also pushed back on media reports that the Lakers were his favorite team growing up.

"Y'all kept saying that me and Paul's favorite team growing up was the Lakers. I'm not going to say [Yahoo! Sports], but whatever media outlet was out there saying that Kawhi prefers the Lakers over the Clippers, or Paul loves the Lakers, was wrong," Leonard told Yahoo! Sports. "I wasn't a fan of the Lakers growing up. Not saying that's why I didn't choose them, but that's not what it is. I wasn't a fan of them, and [Paul] just told you guys he was a Clippers fan."

Leonard admitted that overtaking the Lakers will be tough since they have won 16 championships and have a dedicated fan base. He hopes that he can help the Clippers compete and win a title, and start to convert some Lakers fans.

"Our focus is on building our own legacy, building the Clippers' legacy. That's how the Lakers started. Who won the first championship with the Lakers? That's how we're going to start our movement. We're going to go in and obviously have a goal set of winning a championship, and if we can get one, then that's going to start the changing process."

Leonard also said he was 'hurt' by Jalen Rose's report that he was '99%' leaning towards the Raptors, and told Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports that leaving Toronto had nothing to do with basketball, and that he was homesick missing his family playing that far from his hometown of Los Angeles.

Photo: Getty Images