Although the Thunder didn’t initially want to move Paul George during the summer when he requested a trade, the franchise was widely lauded for the package it extracted from the Clippers in the deal the two teams eventually made. Among those who thought the Thunder did well? George himself, who spoke about the trade this week when he faced his old team.
“I thought it worked out great for them,” George said (video link via Ben Golliver of The Washington Post). “I think Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander) is a future star and he’s proven that he can carry a load. … He works hard, works on his game. And then him just being under CP (Chris Paul), he’s going to learn so much. So they got a star. And Danilo (Gallinari) is a proven scorer, a big-time scorer.
“And then, I mean, the 100 picks that they got,” George continued with a laugh. “Their future’s bright. (Thunder general manager) Sam Presti‘s a proven expert at drafting and they’re going to be great in the future.”
As George noted, the Thunder received five first-round picks in the trade, including four unprotected first-rounders, along with the ability to swap two additional first-rounders with L.A. While it wasn’t quite “100 picks,” it was a massive haul for OKC, and a price the Clippers were willing to pay because they knew it would mean securing a commitment from Kawhi Leonard as well.
Here’s more on the Thunder:
- George isn’t the only member of the Clippers who believes Gilgeous-Alexander has star potential. As Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman relays, Lou Williams said his former backcourt mate is “gonna be a star,” while head coach Doc Rivers went one step further, calling SGA a potential “superstar” and lamenting the fact that he had to be dealt to OKC to get George. “Obviously it’s the price of doing business in the NBA and it’s a trade you have to do, right?” Rivers said. “But as excited as I was when we knew that the whole deal was going through, when (president of basketball operations) Lawrence (Frank) told me the Shai name was still in it, you were sad. You were disappointed.”
- Veteran Thunder center Steven Adams is still limited by a knee injury that sidelined him for a handful of games earlier this season, Mussatto writes for The Oklahoman. Nerlens Noel was OKC’s center down the stretch on Tuesday while Adams sat. “Obviously we’re dealing with Steven’s knee still,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I don’t want to say he’s on a minutes restriction, but we’re trying to be mindful and keep him in a range.”
- In case you missed it, we identified Chris Paul as one veteran to watch in our first look at potential 2019/20 trade candidates in the Northwest division.