Green and Leonard are fresh off of an National Basketball Association championship win with the Raptors - their second as teammates.
Although there were rumblings of Leonard's interest in signing with the Lakers, Green believes the two-time Finals MVP wanted to carve his own path with the Los Angeles Clippers rather than share the spotlight with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. If he is going to come back from it, now is the time. LeBron is known for making big men play up to their full potential and is going to have a field day with both Anthony Davis and Boogie in the frontcourt. He returned nearly exactly a year later and played 30 games for the Golden State Warriors in the 2018-2019 season, only to suffer a quad injury in the playoffs that forced him to miss another six weeks. Due to Leonard waiting for quite a while after the start of free agency to make his decision, there was some concern about who the Lakers would target if they missed out on him. But I think both teams are very good on paper, we have to see how it's put together. "So you go to the next-best team you think in the league is and that was here". According to Green, Leonard refused to disclose his plans and kept Green in the dark for a critical amount of time.
"I think it'll be a lot of fun", he said. I think it'll be something that's going to grow into something, hopefully something that's unbelievable for the fans to watch. You never know, it could be two teams in L.A. playing against each other [in the playoffs] which we wouldn't have to travel anywhere.
"I think the conversations we have with our players, we want to keep those private just because they are important", Pelinka said.
With the Clippers remaining quiet during free agency and ultimately landing Leonard, Pelinka was asked if Johnson may have hurt the Lakers' chances with the top free agent available. "Nobody knew about it".
"I really haven't spent a lot of time either thinking about or characterizing that", Pelinka said in a conference call on how close the Lakers were in the Leonard hunt with the Clippers and Toronto Raptors. "I had no idea where he was going".