In huge NBA trade news, the Oklahoma City Thunder have kicked off their 2017 NBA offseason in style. After a few weeks of speculation on what the Indiana Pacers were planning to do with Paul George since he revealed he was not returning after the upcoming season, they pulled off one of the most unexpected trades of the offseason so far. ESPN reported that the Pacers traded George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo.
This NBA trade has shocked most fans who speculated that Paul George would end up with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, or his beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, the Oklahoma City Thunder have picked up Paul George in what will be a one-year rental and rid themselves of a huge contract at the same time.
The Oklahoma City Thunder Paul George Trade
Oklahoma’s own News 9 reported that the Paul George trade will send George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for both Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. By getting rid of Oladipo, the Thunder are eliminating his four-year, $85 million contract. While the Thunder will pay Paul George $19.5 million this season, it is well worth it.
Paul George has made it clear to the Indiana Pacers that he planned to leave via opting out of his contract with his player option in 2018 and there is little chance the Oklahoma City Thunder will convince him to stay there, even if it is to play with Russell Westbrook.
However, bringing in Paul George drastically improves the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2017-18 NBA season, giving the Thunder a huge star to work with Westbrook — something they lacked when Kevin Durant left the team.
The Future of The Thunder and Paul George
When Paul George leaves the Thunder after the season, they will have the Oladipo contract off the books and that will free up money to chase another free agent next year. There is also a chance that that Thunder have plans to spend on a free agent this year as well, as the NBA free agency period starts tomorrow.
There is also the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder really want Russell Westbrook to accept a new contract extension that will make him one of the highest-paid players in the NBA so the team can build around him as their leader. Bringing in Paul George shows Westbrook that the Thunder want to compete for championships and the next move is his.
[Featured Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]