ESPN NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins is never one to bite his tongue.
Whether he is getting brutally honest on the Los Angeles Lakers’ most recent moves or identifying the NBA’s next Dwyane Wade – he always keeps it pretty real.
This past week Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported a particularly interesting anecdote.
“[Russell] Westbrook had become a father of three the previous November, and while he’d made a home and carved a Hall of Fame legacy in Oklahoma City, the chance to live and play in Los Angeles, where grandparents and his large extended family and friends could visit every day, held deep appeal,” she wrote.
“Teaming up with [Kawhi] Leonard would be the fastest way there, so he placed the call… but Leonard didn’t just take the call as one native son of Los Angeles to another, ponder it and file it away. He used it. According to multiple sources, Leonard then called Westbrook’s teammate in Oklahoma City, Paul George, and told him he’d rather team up with him on a homecoming.”
Obviously Leonard and George would end up teaming up together on the Clippers, while Westbrook was left out in the cold.
On Tuesday, Perkins called Leonard out for his actions – labeling him the most selfish player in the NBA.
“Kawhi Leonard is a guy who throws stones and hides his hand,” Perkins said.
“And when it comes down to it, we have let him off the hook for too long. He’s a guy that flies under the radar and has been doing sneaky stuff, been getting catered to, and just because he’s quiet we don’t address him. We looking at this situation with him and Russell Westbrook. This is supposed to be your homie. This is a confidential conversation. You don’t use this conversation or ignore this brother’s phone call to go lure Paul George to come to the Clippers.”
Perkins then provided another example: the firing of former head coach Doc Rivers.
“By the way, when you get to the Clippers, the firing of Doc Rivers,” he said.
“Everybody wanted to point the finger at Paul George, but Paul George wasn’t the only one who had a say in firing Doc Rivers. Kawhi Leonard was right there with him, but nobody wanted to blame Kawhi Leonard for what he was doing.
“You look at this season alone. Kawhi Leonard gets hurt, he goes down. Most of the time when you see a guy go down and your team is in the heat of the battle and they in the playoffs, they not in the sweet, wiggling their toes eating steak and shrimp. They down there on the bench, encouraging their teammates. They in the trenches with their guys.”
Alex Caruso stays winning. https://t.co/RPDs7KeKXN
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 2, 2021
It’s hard to argue with Perkins’ assessment. Leonard definitely does skate by due to his quiet nature, and he has proven himself to be a little selfish. That probably explains why there is so much turmoil between him and the Clippers front office right now.
One of the benefits of being a generational talent is you get away with a lot of stuff. And nobody personifies that principle more than Leonard.