Paul George trade rumors are back as the Oklahoma City Thunder continue to struggle. If OKC doesn’t trade George before the NBA trade deadline in February, the franchise could risk losing him in free agency for nothing in return. Current NBA analyst and former coach Mike Fratello feels that the Thunder should deal him now, with the hopes of possibly landing a future first-round draft pick in return. A report on NBA GameTime for the NBA Network showcased his opinions and that of the other panelists weighing in on the OKC-George situation.
“To me, if the opportunity presents itself, I would do a deal. I would move Paul George.”
They went on to state that the Oklahoma City Thunder won’t be making the Western Conference Finals this year and that it is time for the team to cut their losses. It was also discussed that a surprise team could come to the surface, much like when Chris Paul was suddenly traded to the Houston Rockets. While teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers keep coming up in Paul George rumors, it was suggested that a team might be willing to take him on now if George and his agent were willing to make a long-term commitment.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 8, 2018
In 40 games for the Thunder this season, George has averaged 20.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. He is putting up All-Star numbers in those categories, but his shooting percentages are down from the 2016-17 NBA season. George is shooting just 43.2 percent from the field and just 81.2 percent from the line. His three-point shooting has never been better, though, as George is shooting a 43.4 percent clip from beyond the arc and attempting 7.3 three-point shots per game.
In the updated NBA standings, the Oklahoma City Thunder are now 23-20 on the season. The team is four-and-a-half games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 4 seed, but also just a game-and-a-half from being in ninth place in the Western Conference. There is a very little margin for error now and finishing with one of the lower seeds would guarantee a first-round matchup against the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, or San Antonio Spurs.
George makes roughly $19.5 million this season and has a player option worth about $20.7 million next year. It has been made clear by his agent that they plan to opt out of the deal, making him a free agent who could sign with any other team, including the Los Angeles Lakers. This is why so many Paul George trade rumors persist and why the topic of conversation will continue right up until the February NBA trade deadline.