Movie quote of the day:
“I’m a peacock, Captain! You gotta let me fly on this one!”
– Terry Hoitz, “The Other Guys” (2010)
It was announced over the weekend that former Indiana small forward Paul George is being traded to Oklahoma City. Now, Indiana’s decision to trade him doesn’t come as a surprise because George informed the Pacers recently that he doesn’t plan to re-sign with the team when he becomes a free agent next summer. So, the organization has been looking for a trade partner to try to get some value for George instead of losing him for nothing later on. However, the surprise is that Oklahoma City ended up being the landing spot for the four-time All-Star. For weeks, the teams that were rumored to be in contention for George by NBA insiders were Boston, Cleveland, Houston and the Lakers. So, the Thunder really came out of nowhere to get him.
Even though this acquisition really shook up the NBA offseason, here’s four reasons why this trade makes zero sense to me:
1. George is a great player, but he doesn’t make teammates better
To be fair, there’s maybe only three to five players in the NBA that I’d say are of this caliber (LeBron James, Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, etc.). However, it’s still worth mentioning that while George is one of the best players in the league, he isn’t the type of player who elevates his teammates. This is kind of a problem since Oklahoma City already has someone on its roster like that – his name is Russell Westbrook. Having two personalities like that in the same locker room could be a disaster.
2. Oklahoma City isn’t a contender
George was adamant that he wanted to play for either the Lakers or a title contender – which makes it even more shocking that he ended up in Oklahoma City. The Thunder aren’t even in consideration to win the Western Conference – let alone an NBA title – and even with George on their roster, I’m still not sure it’s set in stone that Oklahoma City will get a top four playoff seed in the West next year.
3. George is now almost certainly going to leave for the Lakers after this season
George is from southern California, and his infatuation with the Lakers is the reason why I respected why teams weren’t willing to trade top assets for George because they felt like he was a one-year rental and then he’d bolt for the Lakers as a free agent. However, I feel like there was a small chance that George might’ve re-signed with a championship contender under the right circumstances – for instance, maybe Cleveland or Boston. However, since he’s in Oklahoma City, I would go ahead and put money on him leaving for the Lakers – who are the real winners of this trade, if you look at the big picture. They will have a great chance of signing George next year and they didn’t have to give up any top assets for him. Be patient, Lakers fans, it’ll work out.
4. Indiana didn’t get much in return
I know I said that I wouldn’t have traded top assets for George, but still, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for Paul-freaking-George? Oklahoma City robbed Indiana blind. I expected the Pacers to get at least one draft pick out of this deal.
While I’m not a huge fan of this trade, I will at least admit that George to Oklahoma City makes the West even more interesting than it already is, and I look forward to seeing how Westbrook and George play with each other.
Thanks for reading
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