Skip to main content

How the Los Angeles Clippers protected Kawhi Leonard from critics

The Clippers did everything they could to lure Kawhi to LA — even if it meant firing people over a critical comment.
Bruce Bowen and Los Angeles Clippers foward Kawhi Leonard

Bruce Bowen and Kawhi Leonard

When Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors in 2018, opposing front office teams quickly looked at the forward’s contract. They saw that Leonard only had one year left in his deal and prepared to make their best offer. The Clippers were one of those teams, but unlike others, they went to the extreme in making sure Los Angeles was to Kawhi's liking. 

Ousting Bruce

To recall, the root of Leonard’s trade request was his fallout with the San Antonio Spurs. He suffered a quad injury which caused him to miss some time. The Spurs medical staff deemed he was ready to play, but Leonard himself didn’t feel 100%. Around this time, former Spurs defensive specialist Bruce Bowen was a television analyst for the Clippers. He went on a tirade against Leonard in an appearance on Sirius XM.

I think there’s nothing but excuses going on. First, it was, ‘Well I was misdiagnosed.’ Look here: You got $18 million this year, and you think that they’re trying to rush you? You didn’t play for the most part a full season this year. And you’re the go-to guy, you’re the franchise, and you want to say that they didn’t have your best interest at heart? Are you kidding me?” Bowen said, per My San Antonio.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Bowen dropped the comments on June 22, 2018. By mid-August, Bowen revealed that he had been sacked as Clippers’ broadcast analyst.

It was basically we don’t view your views that way and because of your comments (about) Kawhi Leonard we’ll go our separate way,” Bowen said on the Dan Patrick Show.

Dirty plays

Bowen knew exactly what the Clippers did. But in a way, he feels that the Clippers overreacted by firing him. He claims that he was just doing his job as an analyst. Apparently, the Clippers weren’t having any of it.

I don’t think I’m that powerful where I would be the reason why someone would not want to go to a team. I mean, what are you doing? Are you playing or are you listening? And if you are listening, then listen to the words that are said and receive the constructive criticism because that’s my job, to be critical of someone’s play,” he added.

As we all know, the Clippers were able to lure Kawhi in. Since then, the team has been one of the top contenders in the West. One can view this episode as a lesson in recruitment. If it means kicking someone out of their job, then so be it. Playing dirty is sometimes necessary. Bowen knows this better than most.


Rob Pelinka’s big promise to LeBron James as contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers nears

The Lakers have been a bit trepid about making big roster moves recently, but they appear to have said what they needed to say to keep James in L.A.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan and golf icon Tiger Woods

“He’s scared, I’ll knock his brains out” — Michael Jordan revealed why Tiger Woods refused to play basketball

Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are both GOAT but while MJ plays golf and is good at it, Tiger wouldn't come near a basketball court.


"You would never have heard of Michael Jordan!"-John Salley reveals the crucial information he learned from "The Last Dance" documentary

In Salley's opinion, if the "Bad Boys" Pistons knew at the time what was revealed in "The Last Dance" documentary, Jordan would have never gotten past them.

New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose

Why Derrick Rose isn't your average superstar — “I hate fame. It's just not who I am.”

DRose's answer demonstrates how humble he is, despite all his achievements.