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September 29, 2019

Kawhi Leonard

Lou Williams

Los Angeles, California

THE MODERATOR: First up, as promised, and even starting ahead of schedule, we have Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams. Both of you gentlemen, thank you for being here. And we're going to start with the audience questions. Jim Hill, why don't you do the honors of getting us going. Jim Hill from CBS.

Q. Thank you very much. Gentlemen, good morning, good afternoon and good luck this year. With all the things that are anticipated for the season, I'd like you to talk about the excitement you have getting ready, and also with the anticipation of what can happen, I'd like you to talk about the process, the processes which you can get to where you want to go and not skip anything in between.
KAWHI LEONARD: All right. I guess for today the excitement is just able to put on the jersey, and be around the fellows again and talk about tomorrow. That's when our training camp begins. Like you said, it's a process. It's a journey, and we will focus on that and figure it out tomorrow how we're going to get there.

LOU WILLIAMS: Yeah. I'm just excited to get the process started. I feel like we made a lot of positive steps last season with the group we had. Obviously with the addition of Kawhi and Paul and the other guys, I really feel like we have an opportunity to do something special here in the city of Los Angeles, so starting camp tomorrow we look forward to getting out there.

Q. Lou, just curious, last season this team took a lot of pride in being scrappy and underdogs and a real team without superstars. Now you have two superstars. How does the dynamic change?
LOU WILLIAMS: I think it's important for us to maintain that mindset. I think that works in our favor with the personalities that we have in our locker room. You know, that should be the majority of our makeup. I don't think we should just stop being ourselves because we have the addition of those guys. I think all of those things mesh well together, especially when you're trying to do something at a high level.

I don't know if there's a way to tell Pat Beverley to chill out. (Laughs). So I don't think that changes, especially for me. I don't think my mindset changes either.

Q. Two-part question for each of you gentlemen. Kawhi, first for you, you've been part of the 2014 championship Spurs, the 2019 championship Raptors. You've seen how teams are constructed. You kind of like the Clippers buildup and also wanted Paul George to come here. Tell me what makes up a championship team in your eyes.
And, Lou, the 2012 76er team you were on, probably would have won a couple of championships by now had you stuck together. You played with the Rockets in 2017, the main season of 2017. Most of the teams were kept together and made them strong contenders. I want you to answer how frustrating it is when you have a great thing going when you see a championship going and now you find you have it here.

LOU WILLIAMS: Well, for me, 2012 was a very special year for me. I really enjoyed the guys that I shared the court with. We were very young at that time. We didn't have any egos. Everybody played selfless. We just laid it out on the line for an 8 seed and ended up knocking down the No. 1 seed and then taking Boston in 7 games. We felt like if we kept that group together, we could have possibly did some incredible things. But business is business. It didn't work out that way.

It didn't happen, and those other scenarios are kind of just blips on the screen for me. But 2012 was different.

KAWHI LEONARD: For me, everybody being of high character; sacrifice, wanting to win, determination, knowledge. You know, all that together, just being on the floor, going out there as one unit, all trying to accomplish that ultimate goal. I think that's what drives a championship team, and, you know, you just figure out the bumps in the road on the way there. It's all a journey and not get ahead of yourself and not skipping any steps. That's what I think the process is on those two teams. But you also have to stay healthy as well. And you have to be present.

Q. Kawhi, what did you do with the fish?
KAWHI LEONARD: What did I do with the fish? Like anybody else would do, have somebody it fillet if you don't, or fillet it yourself and cook it and eat it.

Q. What kind of fish was it?
KAWHI LEONARD: I think we caught some rockfish, some salmon and groupers out there. It was a good time. It was a good day for everybody.

Q. What was the technique you used to grab the biggest fish of the day?
KAWHI LEONARD: I didn't grab the biggest fish of the day.

Q. Who did?
KAWHI LEONARD: The lady beneath me, Denise. She got the biggest fish.

LOU WILLIAMS: I grabbed the smallest fish (laughs).

Q. Was that the taco one?
LOU WILLIAMS: Threw mine back in the water, that's how small it was. (Laughs).

MODERATOR: Denise will be available later for questions about her biggest fish.

Q. Lou, you and Montrez combined probably have some of the best breakers in the NBA. But you guys have more depth now. How will it help you guys and how beneficial will it be to have some more help off the bench?
LOU WILLIAMS: Yeah, mentally for us, I think we should just stay in the mindset of just continuing to build, continuing to grow. Having depth isn't an issue for us. Obviously everybody should just kind of go into the season with a mentality of just putting stats and putting records and history and all of this stuff aside, if it's not for the benefit of the team. You know what I mean? And so what Trez and I did last year was very special, but we look forward to building with this new group of guys and seeing what we can do.

Q. Kawhi, from what training steps will you have? Similar, different? (Indiscernible).
KAWHI LEONARD: It's different this season. Last year I was going in with an injury that I was dealing with the year before. It still was lingering, and we knew that I'd have to be healthy going throughout the season and making it into the playoffs. But this year I'm pretty good, feeling way better than I was at the start of last season.

Q. Mr. Williams, what was your impression of Kawhi Leonard before him joining the Clippers? And, Kawhi, what was your impression of the Clippers before obviously you joined the Clippers? Thank you guys.
LOU WILLIAMS: My impression with Kawhi, I thought he was a top 5 player in the league, especially when he was in San Antonio. You hate running into him there. He always guarded me. I always knew it was going to be a tough night with what we both brought to the table defensively. I was really impressed how he went to Toronto and changed the culture there and was able to win the championship with that particular group of guys. I have just always been a big fan, so I was excited to have him here.

KAWHI LEONARD: I wasn't able to play this time last year just from dealing with injuries, but me watching, they did their thing. They're a competent unit, play very hard. They seem like everybody was -- you know, it was a brotherhood here. They all went out and did their job, and if somebody was doing great that night, they fed 'em. And, Coach Doc did a great job of getting that group ready and pushing them to the playoffs, reached expectations that none of us gave to the team. And I was just going through my process of grade and see. That's what I looked at, and I thought I could join and help here.

Q. Kawhi, have you thought about next summer with Team USA and the Olympics? Some of the other All Stars in the NBA have been declaring that they want you. Where are you with that?
KAWHI LEONARD: Right now, yeah. I do want to play, but, you know, I'm taking it one step at a time, and right now it's getting the Clippers to the Finals.

Q. Kawhi, how nice is it to be home? I saw some footage of you at Canyon Springs recently and obviously the backpacks. What's it like to be back here in Southern California?
KAWHI LEONARD: One of the reasons why I came back is being able to go back to my community and for them to see me, able to touch them, they're able to shake my hand, just able to be here and be a guiding inspiration for the youth. It's hard to come in here and be drafted in Texas, you really don't have no time except the two games when we came out here, and last year I was in a totally different country, and I was on the East Coast. So it was only about twice that I came out here. Like I said, it's one of the big reasons why I came back, to be able to be a part of the community that I grew up in and just let them know it's not a knit. I was just in their shoes one day, one of those days, and they could be in my shoes.

Q. Kawhi, I know you were one of the people who attended Kobe's camp that he did, secret invite camp, at the Mamba Sports Academy. What was that like with all the players there? And what's your relationship now with Kobe and what it's been like?
KAWHI LEONARD: I think it's a good relationship. I didn't play. I just went up there and conversated with them. But the time that I went, I wasn't really able to see them play against each other. You know, he did a great job being a lot of trainers together, elite trainers and elite players over there and putting up the drills. I'm not sure what they did throughout the whole day. I was up there for about an hour or two, just talking to Kobe, bouncing some ideas off of him. That was pretty much it.

Q. Kawhi, you've now changed to teams 13 in the last. What did you learn last year about having to come together quickly and is that a reality?
KAWHI LEONARD: I mean if you can have a team, you know, the same group of players that you get to the top and seeing what the Warriors did the last five years with the same core players. Last year they go in there teaching us both how to drive and championship experience, and they just needed to get over that hump, you know, to have a run to the playoffs several years before we got there. They just needed that little push over the top, and I think me and Danny went over there, and we knew what a championship team needs, and we make sacrifices as players as well. So we just went in with that group talent, and everybody is smart and we just bought into one of those.

Yeah, like I said, last year seems like watching them for them being on the floor together. They played together and made sacrifices. They also had a coach, great head coach.

Q. Seems like the way that teams are constructed you're going to have a pretty strong defensive identity. When you think about building that, how important is it to you to have sort of an off-court chemistry, and what have you guys as leaders of the team done to help facilitate that?
LOU WILLIAMS: We've done several things. Chemistry is a real thing. I thought it was important for us to be able to lean on each other as much as possible and start building that camaraderie and what each guy brought to the table personality wise. That way once we get into the season and once we get into those four corners, what we need to communicate and our competitive spirits is high, your words won't be misconstrued and your teammates can understand that you're coming from a positive place and you have a common goal of trying to win a basketball game. So that camaraderie is important when you get to know guys. And I think we speak every day, if not every other day, just building that and just understanding who each other are. So it's important.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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