LaMarcus Aldridge has one man to thank for not turning him into an NBA champion during his underrated career with the San Antonio Spurs and it's not Zaza Pachulia. Although Pachulia's multiple dirty plays were the catalyst, it's become very clear that the franchise-altering departure of Kawhi Leonard was meant to happen all along.
If you're someone who still buys into the fact that the Spurs' top-level medical, coaching, and training staff somehow botched Kawhi's injury so badly that it made him fully distrust the team into forcing his way out of San Antonio, you may want to close this article now. You may also want to close this if your name is Dennis Robertson. If you're a Clippers fan offended by the headline, I'd also understand. Everyone else, listen up.
Are you at all surprised by the developments that ended the Clippers' season after Kawhi's last two years in San Antonio? Judging by the tweets from Spurs' faithful recently, not even a little bit. As I usually do in a Kawhi article, let me preface this all by throwing some well-earned praise his way.
Kawhi was a quick-learning, hard-working, and tremendously effective star with the Spurs and beyond. His title with Toronto was one of the most impressive individual accomplishments I've seen from anyone in a team sport. When he joined Paul George on the Clippers to form an unmatched defensive trio along with Patrick Beverley, I even picked them as my favorites to win the NBA title.
Even this season, I thought they would make it out of the Western Conference once the Lakers were taken out largely due to injuries. But then, the same old script reared its ugly head with Kawhi Leonard.