Report: Clippers acquire George from Thunder in blockbuster trade

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, right, dribbles away from Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. (Craig Mitchelldyer/AP)

The Los Angeles Clippers have reportedly acquired Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The move comes in conjunction with the Clippers reportedly signing marquee free agent Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard had been recruiting George to find a way to join forces on the Clippers, leading to George approaching the Thunder and requesting a trade, according to Wojnarowski. The Clippers had been front-runners for Leonard but it was unlikely he would have made the final leap to sign if George wasn’t joining him, Wojnarowski added.

Leonard entered the 2019 off-season as one of the top unrestricted free agents on the market after playing one season with the Toronto Raptors in which he averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds on 49.6 per cent shooting through 60 games played. That sterling campaign helped lead Toronto to its first-ever NBA title, earning Leonard his second Finals MVP in the process.

George, a six-time all-star, averaged 28 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in the regular season last year for the Thunder en route to finishing third in MVP voting. In OKC’s five playoff appearances this spring, he averaged 28.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

According to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, George’s departure comes on the heels of reported discontent between George and his co-star in Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook.

After an off-season dominated by rumours and speculation that Leonard would join the Los Angeles Lakers to form a super team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Clippers emerged as the victorious Los Angeles franchise, pairing Leonard with George to form a duo as talented as any in the league.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.