Clippers Felt Paul George Was Not Worth All The Draft Picks They Traded
The Clippers felt Paul George was not worth all the draft picks they traded.
George, 29, was acquired by Los Angeles this summer in a massive deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In return for George, the Clippers sent the Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, plus unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026.
In addition, they also sent the Miami Heat’s first round picks in 2021 and 2023, as well as pick swaps in 2023 and 2025.
While everyone saw the logic in betting it all on a Kawhi Leonard and George tandem, many still felt like the Clippers gave up too much to acquire the latter.
Among those who felt like Los Angeles overpaid?
Team owner Steve Ballmer, apparently.
Doc: “Steve Ballmer was nervous about the picks. I said, ‘Steve, you keep saying six picks for Paul George is insane, but you’re saying it wrong. It’s not six for Paul; it’s six for Paul and Kawhi. So three for each. I would do that.’ You have to look at it in those terms.”
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) September 19, 2019
“Steve Ballmer was nervous about the picks,” Rivers said in a recent interview.
“I said, ‘Steve, you keep saying six picks for Paul George is insane, but you’re saying it wrong.
“It’s not six for Paul; it’s six for Paul and Kawhi. So three for each. I would do that.’
“You have to look at it in those terms.”
George was coming off a career-best campaign season where some thought he was an MVP contender.
With the Thunder last year, he averaged 28 points, 4.1 assists and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Despite those totals, the Clippers still felt like he alone was not worth the investment bringing him in would require.
It was only when Leonard indicated that George was the only guy he wanted to play with, that they finally decided to pull the trigger.
“We showed him everybody else and he didn’t want to hear it,” Rivers said, of Leonard.
“He just stayed on Paul George, so after the meeting we sat down and I said, ‘We got to get Paul George. I don’t know how we are going to do it, but we have to do it.’
“We did know that Oklahoma City wanted to break their team up, so that helped, but we didn’t know if we could get him.”
You will recall, George has stated several times over the past few years that he liked that the Thunder were willing to bet on him by trading for him when the Los Angeles Lakers were not.
In that spirit, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to his owner’s most recent comments.