The Cleveland Cavaliers had several chances to acquire Paul George and pair him with LeBron James, but they failed to strike a deal last summer and before the trade deadline. James and George are continuously being linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Cavaliers are still in the race to acquire George this summer.
However, building the James-George duo in Cleveland will be easier said than done, as Cleveland will have to make major moves to make it happen. Quenton Albertie of King James Gospel suggested a “pathway to a George sign-and-trade” move that would bring him to Cleveland to team up with James.
In order to put themselves in a position to acquire George, Albertie said that the Cavaliers should shed $9 million in salary. They should renounce their rights to Jeff Green and Jose Calderon then trade Ante Zizic this summer. James should then sign a new deal with the Cavaliers worth $30 million a year to make room for George.
George will then need to ink a new deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder worth around $29 million. And to bring him to Cleveland, the Cavaliers will have to offer an enticing trade package that will help the Thunder maintain their status as one of the contenders in the Western Conference.
Albertie suggested that the Cavaliers should send Tristan Thompson, George Hill, and the coveted Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick to the Thunder. Thompson and Hill will make the trade work in terms of salary, while the Nets pick will serve as the main asset in the deal, as it could give the Thunder one of the top five prospects this summer.
And if the Thunder decline to absorb the expensive deals of Hill and Thompson, the Cavaliers could offer another attractive trade package. They could trade Kevin Love and Kyle Korver to the Thunder, which will help Oklahoma City keep three superstars on their roster for next season.
The Cavaliers will have to get creative in order to make the deal happen. While the scenario looks like a long shot at this point, James and George will be linked to each other until they sign a long-term commitment.
According to Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, James wants to play with George badly, and the four-time Most Valuable Player “aggressively recruited” the five-time NBA All-Star last summer before he was dealt to the Thunder.
Shelburne also revealed that George has high respect for James, calling the 14-time NBA All-Star as his “mentor.” George admitted that the 33-year-old superstar gave him advice after their playoff battles before when he was still with the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers lost to the James-led Miami Heat in three consecutive series in 2012, 2013, and 2014.