One year after losing Kevin Durant in free agency to the Golden State Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder swung for the fences and landed another All-Star swingman.
Late Friday night the Thunder traded for Pacers forward Paul George, a risky move that could pay huge dividends for the small market franchise or leave them out in the wind if he bolts for Los Angeles next summer.
The Pacers will receive guard Victor Oladipo and second-year player Domantis Sabonis in the trade.
George is a top-15 player and a perfect fit next to Westbrook, in effect he will serve as KD Lite. He’s a lethal catch-and-shoot player, a lock-down defender and a solid secondary ball handler.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) July 1, 2017
George has a history of showing up in the biggest moments and should balance the floor for Westbrook so defenses can’t load up on him at the end of games.
In addition, the Thunder should have a menacing perimeter defense featuring Andre Roberson, George and Westbrook who will stifle penetration at the point of attack.
Playoffs spots are opening up hehehehe #TheProcess
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 1, 2017
Thunder center Steven Adams will patrol the paint and in the past he has shown the lateral quickness to cover guards on the perimeter.
This deal should also prove to Westbrook, a potential free agent at the end of this season, that the organization is willing to go all-in.
Westbrook, one of the leagues most determined players, is in the middle of his prime and he won’t want to waste a season.
On the flip side, it’s hard to figure out why the Pacers held out for this deal.
Oladipo has shown some promise but the 25-year old is due $84 million over the next four years, a large number for a middling shooting guard who hasn’t show the ability to consistently make three’s. Sabonis has the potential to be a nice NBA player.
Wooooooow!!! Pg to Okc that's wild!!!!
— Ty Lawson (@TyLawson3) July 1, 2017
He has a nice face-up game and he could be a 40 percent three-point shooter in the right system. Sabonis and Pacers Center Myles Turner will form an interesting playmaking front-court tandem in Indiana.
But George is one of the leagues best and it seems hard to believe the Pacers couldn’t get more in return. The Cavs surely would have given up Kevin Love and 2015 second round pick Cedi Osman in exchange for George.
That package or any deal the Boston Celtics could have put together centered around picks and young players would have been better. It’s almost like Pacers GM Sam Pritchard wanted to fuck George over and send him to another small market.
Whoaa this about to get wild real quick #nba
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 1, 2017
But George should have success sliding into Durant’s old role and he will form an extremely athletic duo with Westbrook that will be fun to watch on the fast break.
The NBA’s third season is upon us. ESPN now has Adrian Wojnarowksi and I’m telling you man: GET YOUR TWITTER FINGERS READY.
Allright can we just fusion the east and the west, it's gettin too unbalanced lol
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) July 1, 2017