Paul George was moved in a shocking trade
Well… We didn’t see this one coming. In a stunning turn of events, the Oklahoma City Thunder have won the Paul George sweepstakes.
The Thunder have agreed to acquire George from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo, who had a 0.4 VORP last year (meaning he’s essentially a replacement level player — at least in terms of last season), has 4-years and $82 million remaining on his contract.
The strikes me as the kind of contract that you package in a deal with other assets to rid yourself of. It doesn’t seem like the kind of deal that should be the centerpiece of a trade for one of the NBA’s top 15-20 players.
Turning the calendar back one year, following a better season, he was traded for Serge Ibaka. A year later, following an inconsistent season, he’s worth Paul George.
That’s the modern NBA ladies and gentleman.
The shooting guard averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals in 33.2 minutes a night for the Thunder.
Sabonis, a 21-year-old power forward is coming off of a rookie season where he averaged 5.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1 assist, 0.5 blocks, and 0.4 steals in 20 minutes a game. He also displayed some promise as a potential stretch bigman, shooting 32% from the outside on 2 attempts a game.
That pair joins Myles Turner and T.J. Leaf to form a new, young core to build around. Given this move, it’s fair to assume that players like Monta Ellis and Thaddeus Young are very available right now.
In George, the Thunder receive one of the NBA’s most lethal scorers and an ideal fit to play next to the ball-dominant reigning MVP Russell Westbrook.
PG13 averaged a career-best 23.7 points, along with 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals last season, while playing 35.9 minutes a night and shooting an impressive 39% from 3-point territory.
The Thunder are putting all of their eggs in the win-now basket as George has made it clear that he would like to play in L.A. when he becomes a free agent next offseason. What’s interesting is that Westbrook has a player option following this season and could hit free agency at the same time as George, where they could potentially both leave for the bright lights of L.A. and the Lakers.
Regardless, it’s hard not to be impressed by Sam Presti here. The Thunder GM came out of nowhere to steal away one of the league’s top talents, without sacrificing much in return.