Things were starting to look bleak for the Clippers. Rumors were flying about how Kawhi Leonard had narrowed his choices down to the Lakers and Raptors, and it looked like the Clippers would be stuck in a state of good but not good enough. That was until Kawhi announced he would join, and five minutes later the Clippers sent 7 future first round picks, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous Alexander in exchange for superstar Paul George. By the time most of the U.S population had woken up, there was a new favorite to win the title.
The Clippers now boast the best defensive team in the league. Patrick Beverly, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Montrezl Harrell is a scary good lineup. The Clippers also boast two top five players at the most important position. Kawhi and George are arguably the best two way players in the entire NBA. The Clips are going into the season with one of the best coaches, one of the best front offices, two of the best players, and perhaps the best bench in the NBA.
From the Thunder’s perspective, this was a smart move. OKC was obviously not going to win a championship with Paul George and Russell Westbrook. The next step needs to be sending Westbrook away. If OKC couldn’t win two games in the first round with Paul George, they won’t even make the playoffs without him. Trading Westbrook to a team like the Knicks would accelerate the Thunder’s rebuild.
Possible Westbrook to the Knicks Trade:
Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams
Dennis Smith, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
No matter what, the Thunder aren’t getting back that great of a package. If the Knicks were to offer this, the Thunder would have to take it. I think it’s more realistic a team like Miami ends up with Westbrook. They could send a package to OKC revolving around Justice Winslow.
Without trading for George, the Clips wouldn’t have signed Kawhi and he probably would’ve ended up down the hallway playing for the Lakers instead. This trade arguably saved the NBA. However, the potential for a Brooklyn Nets type situation is there, as the Clippers sent away picks up until 2025.
Some teams trade their stars for packages that aren’t that great, like when Jimmy Butler left Minnesota. OKC can rebuild off of this trade alone, but it also means they are committed to tearing it down and starting from scratch.
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