Sunday, July 2, 2017

Who Won?

Leading up to this year’s NBA draft, many around the league have been wondering where Paul George (“PG13″), a forward who has spent his entire career with the Indiana Pacers, will end up given his recently stated intentions that he prefers to play for his childhood favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers.  PG13 becomes a free agent after the 2017-18 season ends.  Having grown up in Palmdale, PG13 is familiar with southern California and would love nothing more than to reunite with his childhood dream team.  Several sources who are close to PG13 have indicated his intentions to come back to Los Angeles next year, regardless of which team he is traded to.  So which team won the 1-year rental fight?  The Oklahoma City Thunder, which shed Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, were the winners here, as they really didn’t give up too many assets and instead they get PG13, a proven veteran All-Star who averaged 23.7 points and 6.6 rebound during the 2016-17 season.
PG13 was coveted by many teams but the fact that he made his feelings well known that he wants to be a Laker put off many teams, but those who felt they didn't need to give up too much in exchange for 1-year (at a minimum), was enough.  In addition, whichever team traded for him would end up with his bird rights and allow them the opportunity to offer a max deal next year.
So who is the real winner here?  I tend to think the Lakers  were smart not to give up assets to acquire PG13 because they feel they are confident they will get him next year in free agency and they’ll be a far better, deeper team when they do.  The Thunder will likely not make it to the Western Conference finals, even with PG13, making it much more likely he bolts from OKC to Los Angeles.   Only time will tell.


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