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Clippers ac­quire Paul Ge­orge

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Sports - By TIM REYNOLDS

LAS VE­GAS — Toronto said farewell to Kawhi Leonard. Mi­ami said hello to Jimmy But­ler. The Lak­ers fi­nally have An­thony Davis.

Free agency be­came real Satur­day. The four-team trade that sent But­ler to the Heat — with a new $142 mil­lion, four-year con­tract — was one of the first big moves to get done once the league’s off­sea­son mora­to­rium ended. But many of the other mas­sive moves, such as Leonard’s sign­ing with the Los An­ge­les Clippers and the trade to have Paul Ge­orge join him, re­mained in the pa­per­work stage.

But­ler ac­knowl­edged that his long­time friend, fel­low for­mer Mar­quette star and now-re­tired Heat guard Dwyane Wade “may have had a lit­tle bit of some­thing to do with” his move to Mi­ami.

“I don’t think any­body can take over the role that Dwyane Ty­rone Wade Jr. had for this or­ga­ni­za­tion and for the game of bas­ket­ball here,” But­ler said when asked about tak­ing over as a leader in Mi­ami. “I’m just for­tu­nate and blessed enough to be able to call him a friend, men­tor, role model. He’s done so much for me.”

There was no real worry about the pend­ing trans­ac­tions around the league: Some deals, in­clud­ing a few that got agreed upon very quickly when the ne­go­ti­at­ing win­dow opened June 30, sim­ply needed to be slot­ted in a cer­tain or­der to make the NBA’s money rules work. Oth­ers could get done as soon as the NBA said at 12:01 p.m. East­ern on Satur­day that the new league year was of­fi­cially un­der­way.

“I think it’s go­ing to be a re­ally ex­cit­ing sea­son,” said Port­land’s Damian Lil­lard, who wasn’t a free agent and won’t be for a long time af­ter sign­ing a $196 mil­lion, four-year ex­ten­sion that could keep him with the Trail Blaz­ers un­til 2025. “Ob­vi­ously, it’s ex­cit­ing to see play­ers change teams. You know peo­ple love that.” Not all peo­ple. Not al­ways, any­way. Toronto awoke to the news Satur­day that two starters from this past sea­son’s NBA cham­pion Rap­tors — Leonard and

Danny Green — were mov­ing on. Leonard picked the Clippers and will sign a $142 mil­lion, four-year deal and Ge­orge will be join­ing him in a mas­sive trade that will send Danilo Gal­li­nari, Shai Gil­geous-Alexan­der and five draft picks to Ok­la­homa City in a block­buster deal that shook up both con­fer­ences. Green is join­ing the Lak­ers on a two-year deal.

“Teams are mak­ing moves to win

now and that’s ob­vi­ous,” said Heat

for­ward Mey­ers Leonard, who left Port­land and is part of the four-team But­ler deal. “The Clippers, for ex­am­ple, they’re in ‘ win-now’ mode. They played well last year in the play­offs. They go and get Kawhi and PG and all th­ese other play­ers. OKC has to be think­ing, ‘OK, we just got a ton of draft picks.’ So peo­ple are po­si­tion­ing them­selves in dif­fer­ent ways.”

The Clippers and Thun­der couldn’t talk about their deal un­til it was fi­nal­ized.

“On be­half of the Rap­tors, I say a very heart­felt thank you to Kawhi and to Danny, and we send them and their fam­i­lies noth­ing but good wishes,” Rap­tors Pres­i­dent Ma­sai Ujiri said. “As an or­ga­ni­za­tion, the Rap­tors will fo­cus on the fu­ture and con­tinue our pur­suit of a sec­ond cham­pi­onship.”

Davis wasn’t a free agent, but the Lak­ers’ move to get him surely played a role in plenty of other moves dur­ing free agency.

The Lak­ers’ trade for Davis got done Satur­day night, and it cost L.A. a ran­som. Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Bran­don In­gram, the draft rights to De’An­dre Hunter, two first-round picks, a first-round pick swap and cash went to the Pel­i­cans — and then the Lak­ers had to send Isaac Bonga, Je­mer­rio Jones, Moritz Wag­ner and a fu­ture sec­ond-rounder to Wash­ing­ton. The Wiz­ards sent cash to the Pel­i­cans.

“An­thony Davis is ar­guably the most dom­i­nant al­laround young player in to­day’s NBA,” Lak­ers gen­eral man­ager Rob Pelinka said. “An­thony rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing we stand for, with his un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to ex­cel­lence both as a per­son and an ath­lete. This is a his­toric mo­ment for the Lak­ers fran­chise, and we couldn’t be more proud to have him.”

The sign-and-trade that will have Kevin Du­rant leav­ing Golden State for Brook­lyn as well as Kyrie Irv­ing’s sign­ing with the Nets were both still pend­ing Satur­day night. Golden State’s deal to keep Klay Thomp­son around at nearly $190 mil­lion for five years also wasn’t immediatel­y an­nounced, though there would seem to be lit­tle rush there.

Bos­ton com­pleted a sig­nand-trade with Char­lotte, a deal to send All-Star Kemba Walker (4 years, $141 mil­lion) to the Celtics and Terry Rozier (3 years, $58 mil­lion) to the Hor­nets.

“Kemba has ex­celled in this league for many years while con­sis­tently play­ing at a level among the NBA’s elite,” Celtics Pres­i­dent Danny Ainge said.

Davis was back for the sec­ond straight night at NBA Sum­mer League in Las Ve­gas, along­side James and Lak­ers guard Kyle Kuzma. James chat­ted for a cou­ple min­utes with Clippers con­sul­tant and NBA leg­end Jerry West — be­fore the Lak­ers and Clippers met in a sum­mer matchup.

Also at sum­mer league were a trio of young At­lanta stars — Kevin Huerter, John Collins and Trae Young.

But­ler left Philadel­phia via sign-and-trade for Mi­ami, with Josh Richard­son leav­ing the Heat for Philadel­phia. Has­san White­side left the Heat for Port­land as part of that deal, while Moe Hark­less left the Blaz­ers for the Clippers in an­other part of the same mas­sive trade.

Among the other deals that got done Satur­day:

— Brook­lyn com­pleted the sign­ing of cen­ter De­An­dre Jor­dan. “As a vet­eran cen­ter with All-NBA and All-De­fen­sive Team honors on his re­sume, De­An­dre will pro­vide us with the type of de­fen­sive mind­set, tough­ness and lead­er­ship that are needed to com­pete at the high­est lev­els of the NBA,” Nets gen­eral man­ager Sean Marks said.

— The Lak­ers added DeMar­cus Cousins and Quinn Cook, plus kept Ra­jon Rondo, Ken­tavi­ous Cald­well-Pope and JaVale McGee.

— Or­lando com­pleted the sign­ings of its top two free agents, Nikola Vuce­vic and Ter­rence Ross.

— In­di­ana’s sign-and­trade ac­qui­si­tion of Mal­colm Brog­don from Mil­wau­kee was com­pleted.

As­so­ci­ated Press

BACK HOME — In this April 16 file photo, Ok­la­homa City Thun­der for­ward Paul Ge­orge, left, looks to pass the ball dur­ing the first half of Game 2 of an NBA bas­ket­ball first-round play­off se­ries in Port­land, Ore.

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