Though the Indiana Pacers had heard overtures from several teams eager for the services of Paul George over the past year—which is why their haul in the trade that will send George to the Oklahoma City Thunder is leaving a lot of heads scratched.
In return, the Pacers netted Domantas Sabonis, who had a decent rookie year in OKC, and Victor Oladipo—as well as the latter’s $84 million price tag over the next four years.
Although George will be a free agent a year from now, the return is paltry compared to what the Pacers had been offered for George in previous months.
— KL Chouinard (@KLChouinard) July 1, 2017
In June, the Cs’ offers for George evolved from 3 starters and 2 first-round picks to 2 starters & 3 first-rounders: https://t.co/cpRHR9rs1z
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 1, 2017
In fact, you don’t even need to be plugged into the NBA world to know this was highway robbery, with OKC perhaps benefiting from the fact that Indiana natives are fond of Oladipo, a former Indiana University star.
Thanks for the tweets reporting the “theft” of Paul George by @okcthunder.
Our investigative findings: totally legal & very savvy.
— Oklahoma City Police (@OKCPD) July 1, 2017
For OKC, the trade is a calculated risk. Oladipo was disappointing as Russell Westbrook’s running mate in 2016-17 after the team traded for him and gave him his massive extension.
Even if George bolts for the Lakers next summer, as he’s suggested he’ll do, the Thunder will at least have freed up significant cap space going forward. Plus, if the experiment doesn’t work in 2017-18, we’ve seen there’s no shortage of suitors for George’s production—and OKC would probably got more in return than the Pacers did.