As the Oklahoma City Thunder struggle, Paul George will continue to become part of various NBA trade rumors. Having a player option on his contract, the 27-year-old power forward has the ability to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. After losing Kevin Durant, the Thunder no longer intend to let another superstar walk away for nothing, and there is a strong possibility that they will explore trading George before the February 8 trade deadline if the 2017-18 NBA season won’t go as they expected.
The Thunder’s “Big Three” of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George is expected to make them a legitimate title contender this season. Unfortunately, they failed to live up to expectations and are noticeably struggling to play together as a team.
“It’s a three-man circus,” a Western Conference executive told Bleacher Report. “They don’t play well together. There’s no ball movement, no chemistry. You can tell by watching them play, it’s out of sync. There’s no rhyme or rhythm to how they play.”
Another executive believes Paul George is starting to get frustrated with his current situation in OKC. George used to be the “main guy” in the Indiana Pacers but with the presence of Westbrook, he’s forced to play like a second or third wheel. The first half of the season is far from over but rumors involving George are already surfacing in the league.
One of the NBA teams interested in trading for Paul George? The Houston Rockets. According to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is “presumably interested” in adding George to their team. Since acquiring Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers, the Rockets have been active on the trade market looking for another superstar to form their own “Big Three.”
With the emergence of Chris Paul and James Harden, the Rockets are considered as a strong playoff contender in the Western Conference. However, to strengthen their chance of beating the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets should continue improving their roster. George is the type of player who can help Houston perform better on both ends of the floor.
Per Kelly Iko of ESPN Houston, Chris Broussard reportedly cited a league source, saying that the PG-to-Rockets trade could happen before the February 8 trade deadline. The Houston could explore a trade package including Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute, or Ryan Anderson. Gordon makes the most sense for the Oklahoma City Thunder since they are currently in dire need of a reliable shooter on their team.
On his podcast, ESPN‘s Zach Lower suggested that Eric Gordon, together with two first-round picks and salary filler, would be enough to acquire Paul George. However, as of now, there is no strong indication that a deal would be happening anytime soon. Ken Berger of Bleacher Report reported the Thunder have shown “no inclination” in entertaining trade discussions involving the star forward.
As most people think, it would be unwise for the Thunder to publicly state their intention to trade Paul George since it will weaken his value. As of now, they could be having a secret negotiation with interested teams and carefully examining offers that could improve their current roster. If the Thunder won’t end their struggle as soon as possible, George may end up wearing a new jersey before the trade deadline.