After weeks of rumors and speculation, it appears as if Paul George will have a new address next season. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Indiana Pacers have traded George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis.
This deal came out of left field as no one considered the Thunder to be a threat for George. For weeks, we heard that teams such as the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers were trying to put a package together to acquire the all-star forward.
But to no avail, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference could not come away with George, which doesn’t make sense. According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, the Celtics reportedly offered the Pacers on draft night, three first round picks and two starters, in which one of those players was forward Jae Crawford.
If that was the deal on the table, it makes me wonder why Indiana didn’t take it unless they wanted one of those first round picks to be either the Brooklyn or the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings pick.
Nevertheless, if you are Thunder GM Sam Presti you have to be stoked about this trade because you were able to move Oladipo’s $84 million contract and in return get a superstar player. However, it is not guaranteed that George stays in OKC past this upcoming season because we have heard all offseason that he wants to play for the Lakers in 2018.
But why should he go play for the Lakers, when he and newly cemented MVP Russell Westbrook can do damage in Oklahoma City?
This past season, George averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 35.9 minutes per game. If George can provide that same type of production next season, it will help Westbrook on the offensive end tremendously.
Finally, in terms of the Pacers, they begin the rebuilding process as they have Oladipo and a young big man in Sabonis, who they can pair in the frontcourt with Myles Turner.
The 2017-18 season should be fun in the NBA, especially in the Western Conference as the Thunder are ready to compete and try to dethrone the Golden State Warriors.