Paul George has been one of the best players in the NBA ever since his 2012-2013 breakout season with the Indiana Pacers, which came about due to the unfortunate circumstances around Danny Granger’s string of knee and leg injuries. The 6’9” (or 6’10”, according to The Indianapolis Star) small forward has been named an All-Star five times since then, made three All-NBA teams as well as the same amount of All-Defensive teams.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to trade for George, who molded quite well with fellow star teammates Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. OKC was able to get the 4-seed with a 48-34 record, and squared off against rookie stud Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz in the first round.
Their season came to an abrupt, rough ending as Utah took out the Thunder in just 5 games. Most expected the Thunder to at least make 7 tough games out of the series, never mind coming out on top. PG is a free agent, and the rumors have been fluttering for months now. Nobody is really certain of where he’ll end up next year, and if it’s not OKC, there are a handful of perfect fits.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are seemingly the top candidate (besides the Thunder) to land George this summer. In fact, it probably is a perfect match. He grew up in Los Angeles, his parents are Lakers fans (his dad even wore a Lakers cap during the OKC vs. LAL game this season), and they’ve got money to dish out. The franchise has available two max deals to work with, and the array of young talent they have is very promising. George would be a star on a fresh squad, making a load of money, all while mentoring his teammates (who are already pretty good for their ages, and Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball were named to the All-NBA Rookie First and Second teams respectively). There are also rumors of the Lakers landing LeBron, which would be hard for anybody to pass up.
The 76ers destroyed their expectations this past season, despite winning just a game against Boston in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The sky’s the limit for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who will most likely be announced as the Rookie of the Year in the coming weeks. Philly finished with an astounding 52-30 record just two seasons removed from their infamously terrible 10-72 record, which was good enough for a 3-seed. George would blend perfectly in Philly, and he’d join an impressive core of young guns. Other talent includes 1st-overall draft pick Markelle Fultz, sharpshooter J.J. Redick, and Dario Šarić. The Sixers have the money for it as well, with about $25 million available in cap space.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs finished this year rather roughly by their absurd expectations, not winning 50 games for the first time in 20 seasons. They still made the playoffs amid the Kawhi Leonard drama/injury combination. If Kawhi wants out, then the Spurs would definitely be able to negotiate a sign-and-trade deal with the Thunder. It’s very unlikely that George wouldn’t enjoy his time under Gregg Popovich, arguably the best coach in NBA history. San Antonio has a loyal fan base and an already impressive team that includes some fantastic talent (LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, Danny Green, Rudy Gay, as well as veterans Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker). While they can’t flat-out afford to land PG, it is certainly possible to come to an agreement that’ll put him in a grey and black jersey.