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Kawhi Leonard is now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, and jokes have been made about the concessions that Steve Ballmer has had to make Leonard happy. Call it what you will, but Los Angeles has at least acquiesced in favor of Leonard with one hire: Jeremy Castleberry.
Castleberry has previously been on staff with both the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors, following Leonard around during his career. Castleberry was friends with Leonard in high school, where they played on the same basketball team.
Castleberry and Leonard also played together at San Diego State University. The former has always hovered around the latter in the NBA, either in a player development or video coordinator role.
Is this out of the ordinary? Not really. It’s what we expect coming from organizations of this size and with the kind of leverage they need when signing free agents.
That’s not to say that Castleberry doesn’t have the chops for the job. As a former D-1 collegiate basketball player, he’s coming from the same pool that a lot of young coaches rise out of. The Spurs even reportedly wanted to keep Castleberry after Leonard went to the Raptors.
But it’s certainly helpful that Castleberry knows Leonard in this situation. Some degree of nepotism, on the surface, appears to be at play here. But his work ethic can’t be questioned either, and Castleberry is reportedly very highly thought of.