The pair kept in constant communication, even meeting again at Drake’s house after Leonard returned from a meeting in Toronto, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. The Clippers weighed whether giving up promising rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari and a historic haul of five future first-round picks was too much. At several moments, the deal nearly collapsed under its own weight. “We were optimistic,” George says. “But we were still unsure.” Eventually, the Clippers decided to pay the steep price. They weren’t just getting George. They were ensuring that Leonard would pick them too.
George got word that the deal was complete from his agent. Then he called his parents. “I can’t explain what that feels like,” George says. “As a kid, you see yourself and you envision this. I pictured my parents being able to watch me at Staples. I pictured playing in L.A. I pictured being an All-Star, a superstar.