O’Connor’s Latest: George, Sixers, Ingram, Anunoby

In contract negotiations with Paul George so far, the Clippers haven’t offered the star forward “a dollar more” than what they gave Kawhi Leonard earlier this year, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Like George, Leonard was eligible to receive up to $221MM over four years from Los Angeles, but Kawhi agreed to a three-year, $152MM deal.

As O’Connor writes, while it’s possible that the Sixers are being used for leverage purposes to encourage Los Angeles to increase its offer, sources around the league believe Philadelphia has a legitimate chance to land George as a free agent this summer. George is the 76ers’ “Plan A” in free agency, O’Connor continues, not only because he has the sort of star-level talent the team is seeking, but because his versatility and three-and-D prowess make him an ideal fit next to Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

O’Connor is somewhat skeptical that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, the richest team owner in American sports would let George walk in free agency over money. Still, he notes that if George wants to maximize his chances of competing for a title, Philadelphia might give him a better opportunity than the Clippers. Embiid is 30 years old and Maxey is just 24, whereas George’s Clippers co-stars Leonard and James Harden are 33 and 35, respectively.

Here’s more from O’Connor:

  • If the Sixers are unable to land George and potential targets like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler aren’t available, Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram represents Philadelphia’s Plan B, sources tell The Ringer. O’Connor acknowledges that Ingram’s fit isn’t perfect, given his “durability concerns, defensive shortcomings, and offensive inconsistencies,” but suggests that Embiid and Maxey might be able to further unlock him. Ingram remains under contract for the 2024/25 season, so the 76ers would have to trade for him.
  • O’Connor confirms a previous report from Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, stating that if the Sixers strike out on big-name targets in free agency and on the trade market, their plan is to sign players to short-term contracts like Indiana did with Bruce Brown last summer. The structure of Brown’s contract (a big first-year cap hit with a second-year team option) allowed the Pacers to use him as the primary salary-matching piece in the Pascal Siakam trade.
  • League sources tell O’Connor that OG Anunoby, who can become an unrestricted free agent by declining his 2024/25 player option, is expected to ultimately remain with the Knicks. A prior report stated that Anunoby may test the open market.
View Comments (28)