ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the LA Clippers have acquired All-NBA swingman Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oklahoma City is trading All-Star Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for a record-setting collection of draft choices, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
Per Wojnarowski, free agent forward Kawhi Leonard had been recruiting George, who reportedly then requested a trade and will arrive in exchange for a "record-setting" package of draft picks and players:
The Clippers are sending the Thunder four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps, league sources tell ESPN. Those picks go to OKC with Gallinari and SGA.
Marc Stein of The New York Times later clarified that OKC's picks broke down to the Clippers' unprotected firsts in 2022, '24 and '26, along with Miami firsts in '21 (unprotected; acquired in the Tobias Harris trade) and '23 (protected 1-14; acquired in the reported four-team Jimmy Butler trade days ago) as well as pick swaps in '23 and '25.
The 29-year-old George, a six-time All-Star coming off his first All-NBA First Team campaign, is one of the league's most highly regarded two-way threats. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged a career-best 28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 38.6 percent from 3-point range (9.8 attempts/game) and 43.8% overall. George was also a finalist for the Kia Defensive Player of the Year award, earning All-Defensive First Team honors for the second time.
This comes on the heels of news that reigning Finals MVP Leonard reportedly intends to sign with the Clippers as a free agent.
According to Wojnarowski, Southern California natives Leonard (Los Angeles) and George (Palmdale) met earlier in the week. Leonard then "made it clear" to Clippers brass that he would sign if George was coming along.
Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship with a staggering postseason run, reasserting his dominant position among the active player pantheon after an injury-plagued, nine-game 2017-18 season with San Antonio.
He'll team with George for further championship contention in front of family and friends, while Oklahoma City is left to rebuild following yet another megawatt departure. Gallinari, who averaged a career-best 19.8 ppg while shooting 43.3% from deep (46.3% overall) is a capable scorer, though often injured -- having only topped 70 games twice in 11 seasons. Gilgeous-Alexander came on strong, quickly settling in as the starting point guard, during an All-Rookie Second-Team campaign after being drafted No. 11 overall by the Clippers.
The cache of picks provides multiple avenues for improvement, and the makeover could expand further to involve longtime Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that word of "the discontent of OKC's two stars" -- George and Westbrook -- had begun to spread throughout the league. The Athletic's Sam Amick added that Westbrook's future with the Thunder "is certainly in question."