Thunder Trade Paul George To Clippers

JULY 10: Having announced the signing of Leonard earlier today, the Clippers have now officially confirmed their acquisition of George as well.

“Paul George is one of the greatest two-way players in our game,” president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “He is both an elite scorer and a relentless defender whose versatility elevates any team. When you have the opportunity to acquire a contributor of his caliber, you do what it takes to bring him home. Paul is a native of the Los Angeles area and an ideal fit for the Clippers, thanks to his selflessness and drive. Following the lead of Steve Ballmer, we have plotted an aggressive course to build a championship contender, and acquiring Paul is a critical step.”

The Clippers are now over the cap, and all of the agreed-upon trades of the 2019 offseason (so far) have been officially completed.

JULY 6: In addition to landing No. 1 free agent Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers have reached a stunning trade agreement to acquire All-NBA forward Paul George from the Thunder, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Oklahoma City will receive Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and a “massive” haul of future draft picks in exchange for George.

That haul features four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-rounder, and two pick swaps, Woj reports (via Twitter). The Thunder will receive the following selections, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter):

  • Heat’s 2021 unprotected first-round pick.
  • Clippers’ unprotected 2022 first-round pick.
  • Heat’s 2023 first round pick (top-14 protected).
  • The right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in 2023.
  • Clippers’ unprotected 2024 first-round pick.
  • The right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in 2025.
  • Clippers’ unprotected 2026 first-round pick.

The Clippers held the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick and will acquire Miami’s 2023 lottery-protected first-rounder as part of the four-team Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade deal. That will allow the Clips to keep their own 2020 and 2021 first-rounders and send out five total picks while satisfying both the Stepien rule (which prohibits teams from leaving themselves without a first-round pick in consecutive future seasons) and the “Seven Year Rule” (which doesn’t allow teams to trade first-rounders more than seven years in advance).

Those extra picks from the Heat pave the way the Clippers to make the biggest one-two punch of the free agent period, with their acquisition of George coming after Leonard had pushed PG13 to find a way to the Clippers, per Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

As Woj details, George approached the Thunder and requested a trade amidst Leonard’s recruiting efforts, leaving Oklahoma City to try to make the best out of a difficult situation. The Thunder did just that, as their haul from the Clippers will land them a veteran on an expiring $22MM contract who was a borderline All-Star in 2019 (Gallinari), one of the most impressive rookies of the 2018 class (Gilgeous-Alexander), and a bounty of future draft picks.

Still, despite securing a huge package for George, the Thunder may not be out of the weeds quite yet. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that rival teams have been aware in recent days not just of George’s discontent, but of Russell Westbrook‘s as well. It remains to be seen how Westbrook will feel about the departure of the All-Star teammate that he succeeded in keeping in OKC as a free agent a year ago, but with potential long-term cornerstone Gilgeous-Alexander in the mix at point guard, it wouldn’t be surprising if the former MVP ends up on the trade block as well.

It’s an abrupt change of direction for the Thunder, who expected as recently as last week to be building around Westbrook and George, according to Brett Dawson of The Athletic (Twitter link). As Dawson observes, even this week’s free agent agreements with veterans like Alec Burks and Mike Muscala suggest that Oklahoma City was looking to fortify its current core rather than blow it up. It will be fascinating to see what the team’s next move is.

For now though, the Clippers will steal the headlines, having delivered an incredible counter-punch to their Staples Center cohabitants after the Lakers reached a deal last month to acquire Anthony Davis.

The Clippers are giving up a ton to acquire George, but it’s unlikely that they would have gotten a commitment from Leonard without making the deal, according to Wojnarowski, who tweets that the Clippers recognized that they had to pull the trigger, lest they risk allowing the Lakers to steal Leonard and create a powerhouse.

In George, the Clippers will add a 29-year-old who is coming off his best season as a pro, averaging 28.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, and a league-best 2.2 SPG in 77 games (36.9 MPG) for the Thunder. The six-time All-Star, who is recovering from undergoing procedures on his shoulders at season’s end, finished third in MVP voting in 2019.

He’ll team up with Leonard to lead a roster that also features Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, Maurice Harkless, Jerome Robinson, and potentially RFA Ivica Zubac.

It’ll be a homecoming for George, a Southern California native who grew up as a Clippers fan, as Fred Katz of The Athletic notes (via Twitter). George had a 15% trade bonus on his contract, which runs through 2020/21 with a 2021/22 player option, but because trade bonuses can’t push a player’s salary beyond his maximum, it’ll be voided, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

The Clippers will officially acquire George after signing Leonard using their cap room, since the club will be matching salaries as an over-the-cap team in the trade, Marks adds (via Twitter).

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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105 thoughts on “Thunder Trade Paul George To Clippers

  1. acarneglia

    It’s 2 am and the NBA decides to go nuts. I love it.

    Love this trade for OKC

    • kylewait89

      Why? SGA needs the ball, so does Russell. I don’t see the fit unless they plan on dumping RW.

    • johnstodder

      The picks are iffy if the Clippers and Heat are playoff teams. But Shai is a player OKC can grow with. I’m a Clipper fan and despite the joy at getting Kawhi and PG, I’m genuinely sad about losing SGA. Watching him day to day, his ceiling is high.

      OKC’s best move might be to leverage a few of these picks plus Russ in trades. Gallo, another guy who didn’t get the attention his play deserved is another excellent trade asset as an expiring. Russ, Gallo and the picks make the Thunder rich enough to do a quick rebuild around SGA via trades.

  2. kenleyfornia2

    Never on planet earth did we think another NBA story could pass Kawhi to the Clippers but here we are

  3. Five first rounders! Insanity. The franchise is going to be ruined in a few short years, but they’re all in at least.

    • hiflew

      If they get a title or two, it’ll be worth it. If not, then you have a decade or more of bad basketball.

    • dlevin11

      Clippers owner is a billionaire don’ cry for them. Now more free agents will come to LA next year

    • victorg

      I mean 2 of the picks given away were extras and late first rounders and second rounders are over rated I mean if it aint a top 20 pick it aint worth a flip MOST years. they chould get a pick for hark and or lou Williams.

    • kjt404

      I’m sure the deal is solid for OkC but LAC only really gave up 3 future picks; 2 are extra from the Heat and 2 are swaps. As mentioned by others the heat and Clippers could be good making those picks in the 20s, AND some of these they won’t cash out on for seven years. By that time they’ll have to trade or give max deal to a guy they drafted with in of those picks in 2021-2023.

      Secretly I was hoping the Clippers would suck so Ballmer would move them to Seattle, so this trade breaks my spirits. Haha

  4. HalosHeavenJJ

    That’s an entire future lineup of picks. Wow.

    They better win now. Love seeing the Clippers getting some love, though.

  5. KnicksFanCavsFan

    Wow…..OKC giving up on 2019-20 with GSW at their weakest? Trading for a PG of all things? Hmmmmm

  6. formerlyz

    I’m going to have to take a bit, and look at the entirely of what just happened, to react to this one, as I thought the Clippers getting Kawhi gave them a perfect fit, and they only needed a big, and possibly a couple of other pieces

    But wow…first instinct reaction is OKC gets shooting they need desperately at the 4, but I’m not entirely sure where SGA fits with them. I think it is another example of how they keep staying ahead and making sure to add talent and assets every time we think they cant/dont expect them to. I did feel like I could see them making a couple of moves like moving Schroeder, but especially with his injury, I didnt see Paul George getting moved

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      If I’m an OKC fan I’m heated. This is basically a rebuild. All that trouble to get George just to bail on him that quickly?

      • formerlyz

        That/how Russ would react to a PG trade, as well as his injury, is why I didn’t think he’d get moved, although it occurred to me when we heard about them wanting to cut salary. I’m not so sure this kills them next year though. Obviously, he was a legit MVP candidate last year, and they lose offensively, but I dont think it hurts them that much on defense, with the roster they have, and they did add a need with Gallinari at the 4 spot. If any of their young wings gives them anything offensively, they might actually be similar or slightly better, theoretically, although even if they take a step back, they’ll be super set up to do a lot over the next 2 years, or even as soon as during the season. I wouldnt be shocked to see them end up with Bradley Beal

      • OKC fans should be stoked that they got SGA and 7 first rounders for a guy who looked like he might walk for LA the previous offseason anyway

    • formerlyz

      I’m a little confused by this move by the Clippers, but theoretically, they’ll be really good defensively, even though they would have been regardless. Off the top of my head, they need a big, and they possibly need a 4, with multiple guys out there

      Amazing get by OKC to get that many assets out of this, especially for an injured Paul George, and they also opened up some future flexibility, which was much needed for them

      • formerlyz

        Taking another couple of minutes, and looking at the Clippers, im not sure this move was entirely necessary. As I was literally about to say when they signed Kawhi Leonard literally 2 minutes before this trade, they’re super legit. Leonard was a perfect fit for them; he fit their exact need. They’re at least among the favorites. I’m not immediately sure if this puts them for sure over the top, but they have to be at least considered, before looking at the whole landscape, as I was going to say after the Kawhi deal. With so much going on, I’m definitely going to need time on that one for once lol…

        • x%sure

          Clips have 2 good 5s, 2 new major 3s, and at the 4, unsigned Jamychal Green. Nothing to be confused by, they got a big upgrade with the loss of future picks. Unless KL is willing to,play the 4 they have at least another move to make.

          • formerlyz

            the initial confusion was just an immediate reaction, mostly b/c I felt like they were really legit with just Kawhi Leonard. Jamychal Green would be an amazing fit for them, but I personally consider him to be worthy of some legit money, so not sure if they can keep him. I forgot they got Harkless in the Butler trade, so that answers that issue at the 4. They only have Harrell at the 5, if I recall correctly. They needed a big last year, and needed one before the Kawhi and Paul George additions, so its still a need, but there are plenty of options there for them. I would assume Paul George will slot in at the 2 spot. Both of those guys will likely end up playing multiple spots

          • x%sure

            I missed also. So:
            5)Harrell & (Zibac), 4)Kabengele & (JaGreen), 3)George, Harkless & (Leonard).

            I suppose George is more likely to play the 2 than Leonard to play the 4. Fewer minutes for Shamet, Beverly & LouW.

        • They may not have needed PG, but I’m sure in order to sign KL, they needed to trade for PG because he wanted him on the team.

          • formerlyz

            Good call. Hadnt considered that, to be honest. The reports coming out today pretty much confirm what you said. It also probably creates more hype, so that’s a win for the Clippers

      • formerlyz

        just remembered the Clippers got Harkless in the Butler deal, so nevermind about the 4 spot lol

    • x%sure

      This analysis is busted. At the 4, Jeremy Grant shoots 39% from 3, is their best shotblocker, and was their 4th best player. The OKC weakness was at the 2 where Ferguson straight sux with a PER of 6.4 (15 is average).

      SGA can work fine as the 2G. He shoots 37% from 3 and has long arms. He is skinny but so is Ferguson.
      Meanwhile Gallinari has always played the 3. At least he rebounds okay but Grant has the 4 sewn up and I think Gallinari can beat out Abdul Nader.

      • formerlyz

        I’m a fan of Grant at the 4, but this was the first year he shot the ball well enough from 3 to give them legit floor spacing, and shooting has been a major issue for them the last couple of years. Grant can also play multiple spots. Gallinari has also played both the 3 and 4 positions, as has been argued multiple times on this website for the last year, and currently best fits as a 4, especially on this roster…I liked the improvements I saw from both Ferguson and Diallo, and I still think they’re both raw, and have room to keep growing. I agree that SGA can play anywhere in the 1-3 spots, but I was more talking about his fit next to a bunch of guys that need the ball in their hand. He can play off the ball, but I also would like to see him get more opportunities on the ball, and Billy Donovan doesnt exactly run a multi-playmaker offense, despite their personnel

        Also, I said that before I knew it was SGA, Gallinari, and all of those picks, and before the Westbrook news.

  7. Eric Lord

    With all of those draft picks, the Thunder better figure out how to draft. They haven’t hit on many picks in recent years. They have to hit on a few of those first rounders

      • fishy 9 dogs

        Presti has been around a while. I think he’ll do just fine. And two of those five picks are from the Heat.

    • hiflew

      They seemed to do pretty good when they drafted Durant, Westbrook, and Harden back-to-back-to-back. Those were top 5 picks, but look at the picks that surrounded them, it wasn’t a guarantee to pick the superstar each time.

      They haven’t drafted well recently because they haven’t had to. Even if you draft a good player, there was no room for them to grow on the Thunder roster.

  8. goldenmisfit

    So Kawaii Leonard signed with the clippers and two minutes later the team be assigned with just mortgage their entire future LOL!

    • CubsRule08

      Lol. They gave up 5 1st rd picks and 2 players for PG13. Last I checked, the Clippers still have a whole team worth of players, and they just added Kawhi and George. The Lakers traded away their entire roster to help LeBron get what he wants, and they still have nobody. Clearly a butthurt Lakers fan

      • Jmac2020

        Um from where im standing lakers are in a much better place than the clippers are. Have you seen paul george in the playoffs lmao? Massive overpay and both kawhi and pg are older than ad….lol sounds like a lebron hater at its finest. Knowing lebron he will probably get west broke on the lakers and cousins to fill out rest of roster. They surely arent done yet!

        • Seen Paul George in the playoffs? Yeah, year after year advancing and battling in the east. I keep hearing “pg doesn’t do anything in the playoffs” from a lot of ignorant people.

        • victorg

          @jmac you are nuts if you think the LAL roster is better then the LAC roster.

        • CubsRule08

          LeBron hater? Lmao. How about NBA fan realist: Clippers are much better than the Lakers now. Just gonna have to deal with the facts that you’re gonna be the 2nd fiddle now in LA @Jmac2020

    • hiflew

      They didn’t mortgage their future, they just acquired their future. Besides, those picks are not as valuable as you believe. If you were paying attention in the just completed draft, late 1st round picks are not that hard to pick up. If the Clips decide there is a player they need at pick #25, they can buy that pick from someone that doesn’t want it.

  9. coachsuter

    Wow. But if he wants, so be it. Presti again comes through with an amazing trade.

    • formerlyz

      Over the last several years, first we had Scott Brooks screwing things up for them, and then Billy Donovan. I wonder how that ends up playing into this over these next couple of years, but ya, as a couple of us have said, Sam Presti pulled out another one

  10. JBHoops

    Paul George is fantastic but OKC made out like bandits. They basically got 6 1st round picks (SGA + 5 future 1sts) and a really good player on an expiring deal. That’s insanity. West is loaded right now. OKC could have made a run at a 4 seed but that was their ceiling. They just majorly jump started their rebuild and if the Clippers don’t win a title in the next 3 years, they’re going to be super limited in getting better until like 2026 so it’s now or…like maybe 10 years from now.

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      Clippers are trying to win multiple titles. That should always be the mandate. They still have 1st round picks as you car trade away back to back 1st rounders. Those picks are likely going to be mid to late first rounders too.

  11. petersdylan36

    I’ll assume that Westbrook will also demand a trade:
    Suns
    Bulls
    Knicks
    Magic
    Pelicans
    Anyone else?

      • petersdylan36

        That’s a good one too. If the thunder rebuild. Take draft picks and Wiggins.
        Add more draft picks to the 5 from clippers and take Wiggins and see if a change of scenery helps

        • I give no fox

          Westbrook will be worth a major haul. No chance Wiggins and picks is enough

      • hiflew

        Why would they want to make the Heat better right after they just acquired two future Heat first rounders? Plus, the Heat don’t have any picks left to trade.

    • victorg

      I would like to see the ROX trade Cp3,Capela and 2 #1s for Westbrook but I am sure they would have better offers I would imagine.

  12. formerlyz

    And now with this Westbrook news, we’ve officially moved into HOLY $#!+ mode

  13. kingcong95

    OKC is about 12 million over the tax with this trade. They can get out of it completely by using one or two of these picks to coax CLE to take Schroeder for JR Smith.

  14. Jmac2020

    Those late picks are gonna sting. Both kawhi and pg will be past there prime and maybe no longer with there teams and clippers will be bad….thought the lakers deal was bad but this is much worse but if it nets you kawhi *shrugs*

  15. Wow what a hectic 30 minutes. OKC surely must be getting out Russ now who basically owns the franchise. SGA is a really good young player, Steven Adams is still reasonably young and with Russ got getting all his boards he could be a 18 and 12 guy. Who knows where Russ would go tho? And what for?

    Literally just looked at most teams of the trade machine and couldn’t find anything close to good for either party. Best thing I could think of would be a three team trade, Russ to Washington with a 1st rounder from OKC
    Bamba to Washington also
    John Wall and Terrance Ferguson and a first rounder + 2 second rounder to Orlando
    And Aaron Gordan, Bradley Beal to OKC.

    Washington gets to rebuild with Russ as a star or trade piece, Mo Bamba and a pick. Orlando gets its PG in John Wall along with a back up for Fournier and gets multiple picks. OKC gets a future of SGA Beal Gallo Gordan and Adams. Plus they get to keep lots of picks for themselves

  16. Yep it is

    Once again nobody wants to play with Westbrook and one with coach BRON BRON. Both ego maniacs.

    • Eric Lord

      Paul George had such an awful year playing with Westbrook last season. He only set career highs in scoring & rebounding and tied a career high in assists. Wetbrook deferred to George last season more than he did with anyone else.

  17. Eric Lord

    Westbrook might not be happy, but I honestly can’t see how the Thunder can afford to trade him right now. I know a lot of people look one on Oklahoma City, but that city is literally all Thunder. Ownership has to give them something. Trading both stars in the same off-season would be very tough on the fans & could effect attendance. Westbrook has his faults, but people do come to see him play. It is hard to imagine the Thunder being able to pull off a trade for Westbrook that would actually keep the fans coming to the arena. They have to figure it out

    • x%sure

      If they give him a year with SGA, SGA will make Westbrooke improve on his flaws by example. The Dinwiddie of the West!

      • Eric Lord

        I get that Westbrook would be unhappy about Paul leaving because George is a great player, but the Thunder, while probably not title contenders, aren’t really that bad of a team. They are probably deeper than they have been during Westbrook’s tenure in OKC. After Russ, they have Adams, SGA, Gallinari, Ferguson, Schroder, Robeson, Grant, Bazley, Burks, Muscala & Noel. While there isn’t another star player, there are some good players there. The Thunder have rarely had a solid & deep bench. They do now.

        • x%sure

          Yes, they did not lose much on balance, and are set for the future. Presti made sure West paid. Presti figured West had to get George in order to get Kawhi and would pay and he made sure West did pay, to the limits of the rules on first-round picks.
          The Clips had SGA off-limits to trading before this!

  18. Fearthebeard

    What are laker fans on about?

    This is by far the best move for clippers.

    If you have to make this trade to get PAUL George it is a big price but he is a top tier player. In my opinion more worthy of that than say Davis.

    This isn’t just to get George it’s what convinced Leonard to sign no doubt.

    Throw into that the fact the lakers didn’t just give up picks they gave up several of their only valuable players ball, former number 2 pick? Ingram arguably the player they believed was their best outside lebron. Hart and whoever else are handy though not exactly game changing for a Davis type trade.

    Though again these picks for the clippers and heat won’t be likely to be to high. Heat with butler and making moves don’t want to be missing the finals.

    I can’t see how the clippers with a team that was pushing a healthy warriors has done bad here when you consider they have just replaced two players whom no matter what you think are now dramatically upgraded.

    If your the clippers you Sign cousins and love the fact you just played the lakers.

  19. hoosierhysteria

    Westbrook to the Knicks. Good fit. RW hats/shades/threads…we be styling on the Avenue….5th Avenue.

    Fakers find out that people avoid LBJ and his drama. The only goat he knows is scapegoat.

  20. oriolesravenstimberwolves04

    Beverley-George-Leonard is going to be one helluva defensive tandem.

  21. Z-A

    If you’re the Knicks, do you renege on some deals and trade for Westbrook? Btw every time we talk about swaps I just think of Credit Default Swaps lol

    Knox, DSJ, Ntilikina, Trier + Mavs picks?

    Wizards: Wall + Mahinmi + Hachimura + 2 1sts & 1 swap

    Magic: Fournier + Mozgov + Fultz + 3 1sts & a swap

    Cavs: TT + Clarkson + Knight + JR Smith + 2 1sts for Westbrook & Gallinari

    Heat: Ryan Anderson + Leonard + Dragic + Winslow for Westbrook & Gally

    Jut throwing poo against the wall seeing what sticks.

    But this is the ultimate get out of jail free card for the Thunder.

    I would just trade the entire team at this point. 1 to get under the luxury tax. Which the Cav’s deal does.

    • hiflew

      Westbrook is not going to the Heat, simply because OKC just acquired the Heat’s unprotected 2021 pick. If RW goes there, the value of that pick just became very weak.

    • hiflew

      They are easily a contender, but they are right there with several other teams, not ahead of them.

  22. Norm Chouinard

    I thought that you couldn’t trade 1st Round draft picks in back to back years.

    • teezilla

      Your own picks – the list shows other teams’ picks and pick swaps (which doesn’t technically count as trading your own pick)

    • Luke Adams

      As mentioned in the post, you cant leave yourself without a first-rounder in two consecutive future seasons.

      The Clippers will still have first-rounders in 2020, 2021, 2023 (could be swapped), 2025 (could be swapped), and 2027+, so they’re okay.

  23. teezilla

    As a Bulls fan I’m obligated to post my Russ trade that will never happen … but for fun:

    LaVine (for salary matching and talent) + Carter + at least two firsts?

    Lauri is likely off the table though I wouldn’t argue he be a centerpiece … White likely they would want to pair in any Russ scenario

  24. ReservoirDog905

    Just remember Kawhi only gave Toronto 60 regular season games last year. He was under load management. I imagine he will want the same preferential treatment this year. Clippers better step up or else they may not make the playoffs. You think I am kidding look at the Lakers last year who got 55 games out of still arguably the greatest player in the NBA. They never made the playoffs. Plus Paul George and Russell Westbrook could not even make it out of the first round in the West. The West is tougher than the East. Whatever anyone thinks about how great the Raptors were last year they still had to have awful injuries happen to the Warriors to host that trophy. If KD and KT were at 100% Kawhi would not be the hero he is now. Anyway good on Clippers. I hope OKC realizes they are the winners in this trade and I hope Siakam shows the basketball world that the Raptors 13-3 record without Kawhi Leonard in the line up was a lot of his doing and Kyles doing.

  25. hiflew

    Since both Kawhi and PG can opt out in two years, those unprotected Clippers first rounders might have a LOT of value. If both opt out and leave after 20-21, that 2022 first rounder might end up as a high “Cavs without LeBron” first rounder in a draft that might end up as the double draft with HS players back in.

  26. Wow, I had no idea Lawrence Frank was the President of Basketball Operations for the Clippers. Good for him.

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