Paul George has a new home in Oklahoma City, but for weeks he could have landed in any number of spots. Boston and Cleveland were two strongly rumored destinations, but it turns out the Pacers wanted to send their star forward to the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
George joined The Woj Pod with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday, and Woj dropped the bomb that the Pacers offered George to the Warriors for Klay Thompson. Straight up. (George confirmed he was aware of the trade offer at the time.)
It’s not the craziest proposal in the world, but it shouldn’t surprise people that the Warriors turned the deal down.
Here’s the snippet of conversation, which can be found around the 20:10 mark of the podcast:
Woj: “One offer that I was told was made, was Indiana offered you to Golden State for Klay Thompson. Golden State said no. Talks didn’t go anywhere. But were you aware that that conversation happened, and could you have imagined the reaction from the league if somehow you ended up on that Warriors team?
PG13: “Yeah, I think that would have been the Chris Paul to L.A. situation where they denied that trade. Yeah, I was aware of it. I would’ve looked forward to it, to just being in a good situation and a chance to compete for a championship. But, it didn’t happen. It’s still fun to team up with a special talent (MVP Russell Westbrook) and have a chance to compete against that team.”
Imagine this: your fourth-best player is so good that you don’t even consider trading him for Paul George, a consensus top-15 player in the NBA. That’s where the Warriors dynasty stands right now.
Is Thompson a better play than George? He’s definitely the better shooter, although PG13 still holds his own at 39.3 percent from deep. George is also the better playmaker and all-around scorer. (Klay is definitely a worse dunker.) But with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry already demanding the ball, how much would Golden State need another playmaker in place of an elite spot-up shooter? Not much at all. Thompson is a perfect fit for them.
And after winning two titles in the last three years and setting an NBA wins record during that stretch, you can understand why the Warriors wouldn’t want to disrupt their core simply to get a bit more talented. Especially because reports have indicated George’s sights are set on the Lakers when he’s a free agent next offseason, meaning he could very well wind up being a one-year “rental.” And although George is a bit better as an all-around defender, Thompson has a slight edge on the perimeter. And that’s what Golden State needs more since they already have Durant and Draymond Green.
Ultimately, it may be better for George and the Warriors that he’ll play alongside Westbrook in Oklahoma City next year.