After failing to win the NBA championship title this season, rumors have started to swirl around All-Star power forward Paul George and his future with the Los Angeles Clippers. His inability to live up to expectations as their second-best player next to Kawhi Leonard has led to speculation that the Clippers could explore moving him in the 2020 offseason. Despite his inconsistencies during his first year in Los Angeles, the Clippers aren’t expected to have a hard time finding a trade partner for George this fall.
One of the teams that might aggressively pursue PG on the trading block is the Milwaukee Bucks. To prevent Giannis Antetokounmpo from demanding a trade or leaving as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021, TJ Porreca of NBA Analysis Network suggested that the Bucks should consider sending a package centered on Khris Middleton to the Clippers to acquire George.
“The Bucks are trying to convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to stay. Acquiring George would be the kind of all-in move that could show Antetokounmpo Milwaukee is serious about building a winner around him. George is all too familiar with the burden of expectations, and they’d certainly follow him to Milwaukee. But George would also get out of the spotlight of Los Angeles, where he took a lot of heat for his playoff performance and ensuing comments. A change of scenery could be good for George, as he’d have the chance for a fresh start in Milwaukee.”
In the scenario proposed by NBA Analysis Network, the Bucks would be receiving George in exchange for Middleton, DJ Wilson, Donte DiVincenzo, and a 2020 first-round pick. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. Even if it would cost them a young and promising talent in DiVincenzo and a 2020 first-rounder, swapping Middleton for PG would make a lot of sense for the Bucks.
George may have gone through ups and downs with the Clippers, but he’s still a better superstar than Middleton. Starting a new journey on another team would also be beneficial for the All-Star power forward. Aside from having another chance of winning his first championship ring, it could also help him bring back the man that was once considered as one of the best two-way players in the league.
Meanwhile, the potential deal would also benefit the Clippers as it would enable them to give Leonard a new superstar running mate in Middleton. He may not be as good as PG, but he’s more comfortable serving as a second fiddle and could provide a more consistent impact on both ends of the floor. Also, unlike George, who could become an unrestricted free agent in the 2021 offseason, Middleton is under contract until the 2023-24 NBA season.