Apparently the price of admission to land the Raptors free agent Kawhi Leonard was a second superstar and the Clippers bet their future in a big way to pull Paul George off the Thunder in a trade that should remind everyone of a Nets team in 2013 that gave up their future for a shot at a championship.
The Clippers are sending Oklahoma City their unprotected 2022, 2024 and 2026 picks, their unprotected 2021 and protected 2023 first-round picks via Miami, and the rights to swap picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025, per ESPN
That’s a massive haul of five first round draft picks and two potentially very valuable pick swaps for George who could miss all of training cap and preseason recovering from a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and a torn labrum in his left shoulder per rotoworld
No one is suggesting George won’t recover and play well next season, but in OKC George didn’t win 50 games in either season or see his team get by the first round of the playoffs with a pretty solid roster and an MVP running mate in Russell Westbrook.
Like the Celtics, who got three first round draft picks and the 2017 pick swap that became first overall from the Nets for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Thunder, who got an even bigger haul for George, could come out of this trade looking pretty good a few years from now.
As an added bonus, if the Thunder can dump $9.6 million of payroll, they can finally escape luxury tax hell after spending almost $90 million in tax over the past two seasons with George on the roster. If you’re sitting in OKC, you should be feeling pretty good about this trade.
It’s assumed Leonard was the puppet master pulling the strings behind the scenes to force the Clippers into the George trade and with the move they are now the L.A. team favored to win it all next season. High risk, high return, but in today’s NBA that’s what it takes to make you a real contender.
photo credit Paul Saini