Rumors and speculations are swirling around Paul George, who will reportedly leave the Oklahoma City Thunder once he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Will the Brooklyn Nets join the pursuit for the All-Star forward?
Frank Urbina of HoopsHype sees the Nets as one of the potential landing spots for Paul George in the upcoming free agency period. Brooklyn has missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, but Nets General Manager Sean Marks said his team will become a contender in the Eastern Conference next season. Acquiring an All-Star-caliber player like George is a huge step forward toward the Nets’ goal, but it will not be simple.
First, the Nets should be able to create enough salary cap space to give Paul George a maximum contract. As of now, the Nets have roughly $17 million in cap space to use in the upcoming offseason. Urbina suggested that Brooklyn should find a team who will absorb Jeremy Lin and the remaining $12.5 million on his contract. The Nets signed Lin in 2016 with the hope that he could bring “Linsanity” in Brooklyn.
Unfortunately, injuries prevented him from showcasing his talent in his first two seasons with the Nets. With the presence of younger guards like D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert on the team, Lin’s potential departure won’t hurt the Nets at all. If they succeed in moving the Asian-American guard, the next step would be stretching Timofey Mozgov’s lucrative contract. Unloading Lin and Mozgov will give the Nets $39 million in salary cap space, which is more than enough to give Paul George a maximum contract.
However, it remains questionable if their ability to give Paul George a huge payday is enough to convince him to sign with Brooklyn. As most people think, George’s main priority right now is to join a team where he can win his first NBA championship. Teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers have more competitive rosters than the Nets, and both teams could sign George to a maximum deal.
It’s worth noting that Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell and George share the same agent, Aaron Mintz. Last year, Sam Amick of USA Today Sports revealed that Mintz wanted Russell and George to play together in one team.