New Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green developed a close relationship with Kawhi Leonard over their years as teammates, so there aren't many people better suited to offer a glimpse into the superstar's landscape-changing decision.
Although there were rumblings of Leonard's interest in signing with the Lakers, Green believes the two-time Finals MVP wanted to carve his own path with the Los Angeles Clippers rather than share the spotlight with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
"I think all of it was a shock to me," Green said on a conference call on Thursday, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "Except not as much of a shock Kawhi going to L.A. The Clippers, anyway. I didn't see him coming this route (to the Lakers).
"I feel like he wanted to go his own route. I think it was between them and going back (to the Toronto Raptors). I think the year that he had and what those fans brought this season and everything it was hard for him to turn it down and leave Toronto. But I knew he wanted to be closer to home."
Green and Leonard are fresh off of an NBA championship win with the Raptors - their second as teammates. Both will have an opportunity to repeat as they join loaded rosters, with Green looking to help James get back to the top after failing to reach the playoffs in his first year in L.A.
"It wasn't very hard, man," Green said of his own free-agency decision. "LeBron and Anthony Davis are here. Obviously, when you're with a winning team and you've won, you want to run it back if it's possible. But that wasn't going to happen. And even if it did happen, I don't think they had room for me there (in Toronto). So you go to the next-best team you think in the league is and that was here."
Green signed a two-year, $30-million deal and will likely start at shooting guard.
Leonard, meanwhile, has a chance at changing the Clippers' history of irrelevance after guiding the Raptors to their first-ever title. Los Angeles has never advanced past the conference semifinals but is now favored after also acquiring Paul George via trade.