Revisiting The Paul George Trade

Paul George is back in Indiana tonight for the first time since the blockbuster trade that sent him to Oklahoma City. The deal was supposed to signal the start of a rebuilding process for the Pacers and the creation of a title contender in Oklahoma City, but things haven’t worked out that way. Indiana enters tonight’s game 16-11 and in fifth place in the East, while the Thunder are a disappointing 12-14 and stuck in ninth place in the West.

George was shipped to OKC in early July in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, who are both putting up career-best numbers in Indiana. Oladipo is scoring 24.5 points per game, while Sabonis is averaging 12.1 points and 8.5 rebounds, both more than double his totals from last season.

Meeting with reporters today, George expressed joy in seeing the Pacers playing so well and said the reason he had his agent tell the team he was unlikely to re-sign after this season is so it could start preparing right away, according to Matthew VanTryon and Jim Ayello of The Indianapolis Star.

“When we reached out to the front office, to tell them our plans, our future plans, it was to help them along the way,” George said. “And it was bad at first, so to speak, that maybe this trade wasn’t going to pan out. But it obviously did. They got two great, young pieces.” 

We rounded up a few more reactions as writers revisited the July deal:

  • The Pacers should receive an apology for the initial negative reaction to the trade, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. The general feeling was that Indiana didn’t get enough in return for George, with Cavaliers owner Dan Snyder saying, “I will say [the Pacers] could’ve done better,” and the Oklahoma City police department tweeting about the theft of George. Deveney adds that the deal turned out to be better than some other offers the Pacers received, including Gary Harris and draft choices from the Nuggets, and Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley and some non-lottery picks from the Celtics.
  • The Thunder had to take the gamble when a star like George became available, contends Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Even if Oladipo turns out to be an All-Star, he wasn’t a good fit with Westbrook during his lone season with the Thunder, Tramel writes, with some observers contending he was out of shape and others saying he couldn’t adjust to Westbrook’s ball dominance. George can be a dominant player on both ends, and his acquisition may have been what inspired Westbrook to agree to a five-year extension in September.
  • The Pacers should be elated with the results of the deal, according to a consensus of writers on an NBA.com Blogtable. Indiana could be headed for a playoff spot, while George may be joining the Lakers next summer — if not earlier.
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15 thoughts on “Revisiting The Paul George Trade

  1. icedog7229

    Not a pacer fan but I am glad they are doing good and that OKC is struggling

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  2. Z-A

    Pacers got a great deal for 1 year of PG13, who wasn’t resigning with them.

    4 years of Dipo and 3 of Sabonis was better than Crowder/Bradley bc you’d have to pay Bradley to likely overpay stay on a rebuild prior to the injury.

    Harris/Mitchell would be a push. Both play the same position though. Sabonis isn’t bad, but he’s not special by any means.

    Pacers won regardless, they got 2 guys under control for 3-4 years, at two key positions, and for a guy that openly said he’s “Out”

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  3. Thomas Swanson

    Pacers showed all their former great players before game tonight, left George off. Guess he won’t be getting his jersey retired!

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    • Z-A

      Wasn’t there long enough or even otherworldly enough to get retired jersey or be considered a great. 4 time All Star, the last 2 seasons you can argue he was a great player, rest he was just a good player, nothing special.

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      • Thomas Swanson

        If he had stayed with Indiana he would have been scoring 25+ and probably been 3rd team all-NBA. Him and Gordon Hayward were first 2 left off. Pacers were always a 7 seed it seems like, probably would have been again. I think George was with Pacers 7 years. He does have character issues!

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  4. MafiaBass

    Nobody is a good fit for Westbrook. He will not win a ring as the star of a team.

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    • Pihc123

      Have to agree with you. Even thought I always say “never say never”. Westbrook is an elite talent, hard to say he doesn’t share the ball bc he gets assists although it’s as if his only concern is to get his stats. One thing unnoticed tonight is the second unit with Feldon running point is the ball moves much better. One of those strange things that ten years after he retires Poole will look at his stat sheet and say “one of the best ever” until you realize the good people in his teams usually go somewhere else and seem glad to be out from the Westbrook claws. LeBron James has proven year after year he makes those around him better. Westbrook makes those around him less.

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    • cannachusetts

      It’s Allen Iverson all over again. Really good player but just doesn’t have that I’m gonna take you to a championship play.

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      • Z-A

        Except he put an entire team on his back and dragged them to the championship. Just ran into a juggernaut Lakers team with two top 10 players of all time.

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Iverson’s problem wasn’t Kobe and Shaq. Alcohol destroyed his career.
          Lakers at Cavs tonight 8 p.m. TNT

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  5. Dodgethis

    Westbrook has now played with Harden, Durant, George, and Anthony. That’s 4 superstar players. Westbrook is a great player, but he’s not playing to win, and it shows. Either that or he’s just such a selfish and unlikable person he drives everyone away. Either way, perfect fit for OKC, but I don’t see then convincing another good player to sign during Westbrook extension. The thunder will have to trade any good young players or decent picks to get guys to play with Westbrook.

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  6. Chris

    Got to say, it seems like Russ is the problem. The Thunders roster, before KD left, was as good if not better than the Warriors but KD was simply tired of playing with Westbrook. Look the guy can be great and go off for 40 in a triple double any night. But he’ll also go 10-30, taking outrageous shots while his teammates just stand around. He’s probably the Wilt Chamberlain of this generation: all the talent and skill in the world but simply not a winner. Hell even Kobe made it work eventually though so there’s time. But it’s crazy the guys that have been better once they leave Westbrook: Dion Waiters, Reggie Jackson, Victor Oladipo & Sabonis, KD and Harden. Now Pacers and Knicks look good without their starts. ‍♂️

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    • x%sure

      To be fair to Wilt, he won titles with both of the teams he played longest for.
      A lot of players did not win titles during the Boston dynasty!
      It just seemed like he should have had more, with that freak talent. I suppose RW is as fast as Wilt was tall, but I think RW is hard to get a read on– for me but maybe for teammates also.

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      • Chris

        I think we’ve all played a sport with that kid who’s really good but thinks he’s the best ever. Westbrook plays like he’s Kobe, but without the resumé.

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  7. Thomas Swanson

    OKC needs to do something about Roberson. If I were Cavs I’d include J.R. Smith in a trade offer. Nerlens Noel had his thumb surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. I think that’s odd. I think the Cavs with Noel and George could compete with Warriors. George can guard Thompson. Crowder can guard Draymond. LeBron can guard Durant. Love is better than Zaza. IT would just have to score a lot of points. The Cavs bench is better.

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