The instant the Thunder lost to Utah in 6 games in the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, I was convinced Paul George was gone. I’m almost positive we all were. According to Kurt Helin at NBCSports.com, Paul George is now likely to remain in OKC. First of all, that’s just a spooky change from what we’ve all expected. Why would he want to go back to a team that has no chance to make legitimate noise in the playoffs anytime soon? To start, Russell Westbrook is clearly not a player PG enjoys playing with. And they’re stuck with Carmelo Anthony next season on a max deal. For LA, it looks like they’re gonna sign Lebron which will make them instant contenders. Even if they don’t, Los Angeles is a much better place for PG regarding lifestyle.
What the Thunder can do if they Resign Paul George
The Thunder are in a tricky situation with or without PG13. To be an actual contender they’d need to make some drastic moves. Nobody is going to want to take on Carmelo’s contract, so they can’t trade him. Next, Russell Westbrook is the face of the Thunder, so they can’t get rid of him. So, that leaves Steven Adams. OKC would more than likely do nothing and leave the team the way it is because they’re idiots. In reality, the team should find a deal for Steven Adams. Also, he’s only 24 and he’s an extremely talented center that many teams could desperately use. They could trade him for a center half as good as him and a few knockdown shooters. This is a longshot, but JJ Redick is a perfect fit to be around Westbrook. He’s a free agent and won’t make nearly as much as he did last season (23 million). It might take some insane convincing, but the Thunder should convince Redick to take the mid-level exception contract. With some extra scorers around Russ and PG, Oklahoma City has a punchers chance to make some noise.
What the Lakers can do if they Sign Paul George
If the Lakers sign Paul George and Lebron James, they don’t need to do anything. Those two plus the team they have now will be a top 3 team in the Western Conference. Let’s say that Lebron doesn’t go to LA. Then, the Lakers will need to do more than just sign Paul George to be a good team. Magic Johnson has the ability to sign two max contracts which no other team has. Along with Paul George, the Lakers need to make a huge push at Demarcus Cousins. He’s coming off an awful torn achilles injury, but if he can come back healthy his presence will be enough. Lonzo, Paul George, and Boogie Cousins pose a scary threat to the Western Conference. If no other max contract players want to sign in LA, JJ Redick is an incredible fit here as well. His shooting can be useful on every team. Avery Bradley is the type of player that they could sign as well with his 3 and D ability. The Lakers might be back to their winning ways with the signing of Paul George.
The Sleeper team I want to Sign Paul George: New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans had a very sneaky good season this past year led by Anthony Davis. They were able to snag the 6th seed in the ridiculously competitive Western Conference and upset the 3rd seeded Trail Blazers in a sweep. That series put Jrue Holiday on display and showed he’s a straight up dog all about winning. Also, Holiday averaged 24 points per game in the playoffs and played tremendous defense. Nobody is arguing that Anthony Davis is a top 5 talent in this league, so pairing that up with Paul George and Jrue Holiday pose some actual threats to the Warriors. Nobody on the Warriors can defend AD by themselves. With PG13 and Holiday on the court with him, they can’t afford to double Davis and he’ll just go to town in the paint. That team could wreck the Warriors dynasty early in the playoffs and I really fucking wish it would happen. Paul George, if you are reading this, please find a way to go to New Orleans.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)