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Dynamic duo officially back in L.A. area

The Associated Press

Forward Paul George, left, looks to pass around Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu while with the Thunder on April 16 in Portland, Ore.

The Associated PressLAS VEGAS (AP) — Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are now officially with the Los Angeles Clippers, moves that bring both of them back to their native Southern California.

It might not be forever: Both can become free agents now in only two years.

The Clippers completed their blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, acquiring George for guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari and five first-round draft picks — along with the chance to swap draft places in two other years.

“Paul George is one of the greatest two-way players in our game,” Clippers President Lawrence Frank said. “He is both an elite scorer and a relentless defender whose versatility elevates any team. When you have the opportunity to acquire a contributor of his caliber, you do what it takes to bring him home.”

George can become a free agent again in 2021 if he chooses to exercise that option, and Leonard will be in the same situation as well. A person with knowledge of the situation said that the deal Leonard signed Wednesday is a three-year max that could be worth nearly $110 million, though the third season is at Leonard’s option. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Clippers did not release contract terms.

The Athletic first reported the three-year term and option provision in Leonard’s deal. When Leonard decided that he was leaving Toronto for the Clippers last week, he and the team had talked about a four-year max worth $141 million — but this move, which would make Leonard a free agent after his 10th season, gives him the maximum amounts of flexibility and future earning power.

“This is a historic moment for our organization and our fans,” Frank said. “We are grateful and honored that Kawhi Leonard has decided to come home and join the L.A. Clippers. Kawhi is a peerless two-way player, a relentless worker and a natural fit for the serious, professional culture our group has established.”

Leonard will cost the Clippers a lot of money.

George is costing them a lot of money and a lot of picks.

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