Paul George will have the ability to test free agency this summer as one of the most pursued free agents. Going into this season most thought the Thunder was going to be competing for a championship among the West’s best. With Russell Westbrook at the point guard and having Carmelo Anthony knocking down three-pointers, on paper, the Thunder looked like a championship team but that’s on paper. Oklahoma City squeezed by in the regular season and finished fourth place in the West with 48 wins. After clinching the the playoffs in the second to last game they were bounced in the first round by the Utah Jazz. While it is considered a sub-par effort, Paul George had a great season averaging 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 2017-18 while knocking down 40.1-percent of his three-pointers and 82.0-percent of his free throws. Although PG-13 has maintained his idea to try and stay in Oklahoma City here are three destinations he should consider.
Los Angeles Lakers
Nothing better than a home cooked meal, if George decides to go to the Lakers he will get a lot of those. Look the Lakers are on the rise and this move makes some sense for George but maybe not much for the Lakers due to the emergence of Kyle Kuzma. However, passing up on a superstar talent like George will be hard to do. It has been rumored that George is interested in a homecoming. The Lakers have a lot of young talent some still developing which is a good thing for George. While playing with the Thunder at times George looked confused maybe it was because he had never played with two other Hall of Fame players before. At times George would be too passive instead of being the Alpha dog that he is.
If George indeed goes to the Lakers he can have the role back of being the number one option. Of course, this would come with the Hollywood bright lights, more media attention, and critics. Likewise due to the history of the Lakers the expectation of a quick turnaround for a star to lead the Lakers will be George’s job. Lakers style of play, which is run and gun with a young team is beneficial for George who can pull up off the dribble and score with ease. With a pass-first point guard like Lonzo Ball and all the versatile players, the Lakers will have their superstar next to Ball but with the Warriors and Rockets holding on to the West top spots it will not be easy to compete for a championship anytime soon.
Portland Trail Blazers
This would be a great move if the Portland Trail Blazers can get Paul George in free agency without losing Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum. This move make sense on both sides, Portland does not have a lot of depth at the small forward spot with just Al-Farouq Aminu at that spot. Aminu is a solid player but getting a player like George would be a huge upgrade and it would allow for Aminu to play the power forward spot. This signing would give Portland one of the best starting five in the league.
Again, if this deal can be done without harming any of the current Blazer backcourt then more power to Portland. It would be difficult for the Blazers to participate in a sign-and-trade because this will not allow George to seek a full maximum deal should he choose to re-sign with the Blazers. This could be an issue as well if Oklahoma City wanted to have any kind of return for George. When it comes to longevity of George playing for the Blazers both Lillard (27) and McCollum (26) just hit their prime. This also will add one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders in Portland to deal with James Harden, Kevin Durant, and potentially Kawhi Leonard in the future.
The process is ahead of schedule in Philadelphia and adding a player like Paul George would make the process exceed greatly. The 76ers had a great season going from 28 wins to 52 and getting the number three spot in the Eastern Conference. The postseason also was unexpected success as the Sixers won a series against the Miami Heat only to fall to the Boston Celtics in the second round. With Ben Simmons basketball IQ appearing years ahead and once of a facilitator more than anything why not go where you will be set-up for success as a scorer?
The Sixers have very strong leverage than the other two teams mentioned. Cap space availability is there for Philly to sign George out right. They will have close to $30 million free to attract any potential free agent. Coming off a promising run with this young team, eyes will be on the process. With a player like Simmons who hasn’t fully developed a shot this can be supplemented by having George on the wings. George can also help Simmons out with ball handling duties as well Simmons play a lot of point guard which he is good at but image if George is bringing up the ball Simmons or Embiid setting screens and rolling to the basket who do you stop? Coming out of the pick-n-roll. Having George will be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams because of the versatility George can bring to the lineup.
Billy’s best pick
Personally, I think Paul George should go to a team like Portland because they have two All-Star players already and I think George will fair well playing in a smaller market with less pressure. If George chooses to return back home to the Lakers, money, popularity, and mom’s home cooking will be nice in LA. However, winning anytime soon can be thrown out the window. The Sixers will try to woo Lebron James away from the Cavaliers and if successful, George can thrown that option out the window.