The wait is over. After a year-long pursuit of the 2019 NBA Finals MVP, the Clippers have won the grand prize of free agency. Kawhi Leonard is signing with the Clippers.

Leonard had narrowed down his decision to three teams: his incumbent team, the defending champion Toronto Raptors; the Los Angeles Lakers; and the Clippers. Ultimately, the Clippers’ pitch proved most compelling for Leonard.

The coup of signing arguably the best player in the league is tremendous validation for this organization. The Clippers front office believed it was building something great, and multiple executives (Michael Winger and Trent Redden) chose to stay in Los Angeles on lesser roles to be part of this team’s future. Now, they have the core of last year’s 48-win team and the ultimate cheat code in postseason play, an unguardable isolation scorer who can also defend the best offensive threats on opposing teams.

The Clippers were well-equipped for next season whether or not they signed Leonard, given their depth up and down the roster and the leadership of head coach Doc Rivers. But it would be disingenuous to say the team didn’t put a lot of eggs in the Leonard basket. They recruited him as hard as they could, knowing what he could mean for this franchise. With Leonard, the Clippers become a title contender for the first time since the Lob City era, and arguably have a better team than any of those squads.

We will have more to come about Leonard’s fit with the Clippers. For now, celebrate. This is a monumental moment in franchise history.