Sixers’ Interest In Paul George Has Reportedly Waned

The Sixers‘ interest in pursuing star forward Paul George has “significantly waned” in recent days, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Charania doesn’t explicitly state that Philadelphia is moving on from George, he says the team is “expected to be aggressive elsewhere” with its cap room and draft picks as it looks to upgrade its roster around Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

It’s a significant development ahead of free agency, since George has long been viewed as the top offseason target for the Sixers, who can create more than $60MM in cap room. George isn’t technically a free agent yet, but could become one if he turns down his $48.8MM player option with the Clippers for the 2024/25 season. He ranked atop our list of this year’s top 50 free agents earlier this week.

The Sixers aren’t the only rival suitor that could make a run at George – he has also been linked to the Magic – but if Philadelphia doesn’t aggressively pursue him, it would seem to significantly increase the odds of a return to Los Angeles for the nine-time All-Star.

George has been extension-eligible with the Clippers all season, but hasn’t been able to reach an agreement with the team after teammate Kawhi Leonard signed a new deal with L.A. back in January. Reports have indicated that the Clippers sought a deal with George similar to the one that Leonard signed (three years, $152MM), which would be below his maximum in terms of both salary and years. The maximum offer Los Angeles can make to the 34-year-old would be worth a projected $221MM over four years, starting in 2024/25.

It’s unclear which players would be the 76ers’ top targets if George is off the table. LeBron James would presumably fit the bill, though there has been no indication yet that he’s mulling a move out of Los Angeles. OG Anunoby has been viewed as a possible option, and a report earlier this week suggested that the Knicks forward may test the market. A separate report stated that Philadelphia is expected to have some interest in Hornets forward Miles Bridges.

DeMar DeRozan, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Klay Thompson are a few other free agents of note, while Zach LaVine and Brandon Ingram are among this offseason’s possible high-profile trade candidates.

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