Clippers officials – including president Lawrence Frank – have attended an unusually high number of Raptors games this season. The rather-transparent plan: Connect with Kawhi Leonard, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer and reportedly has an eye for L.A.
The Clippers hosted Toronto last Tuesday, offering their best chance to make an impression.
They didn’t impress during the game, a 24-point Raptors win. And they apparently didn’t make their mark afterward, either.
As Leonard left the arena, he came to a hallway with just Sam Amick of The Athletic and Frank. As Amick tells it, Amick and Leonard shook hands then the star forward walked past Frank.
I circled back with Leonard to make sure I read the situation right. Sure enough, as he confirmed, he didn’t know the man who had been standing there when we said hello.
“No, who was it? he asked.
“Lawrence Frank, the head of the Clippers’ front office,” I replied.
“Oh, that was Lawrence Frank?” he said with a smile (and no, to answer the obvious question, he didn’t share one of his legendary laughs).
I don’t believe this. It’s certainly possible Leonard truly doesn’t recognize Frank. But I just don’t believe that to be the case.
Frank was the Pistons’ head coach for three games against Leonard’s Spurs. One of the least athletic NBA head coaches in recent memory, the 5-foot-7 Frank has a fairly memorable appearance in his profession.
People are wary of violating tampering rules. If Leonard might eventually want to join the Clippers, he’s better off not spotlighting his current relationship with Frank. That seems like the more likely explanation.