The Los Angeles Clippers simultaneously underperformed and overperformed this past season.
On one hand, the roster that was assembled around Paul George and Kawhi Leonard was done so with the express goal of winning a championship ASAP. In that regard, LA has now failed twice.
On the other hand, after losing arguably their best player, the Clippers still managed to make it to the NBA Western Conference Finals and give the Phoenix Suns some legitimate competition.
As it turns out, that late playoff run may have salvaged George’s time as a member of the team.
In a recent piece, Jabari Young of CNBC reported that one Western Conference exec had floated the idea of the Clippers trading George if the team disappointed yet again this year.
“A Western Conference executive floated the idea of the Clippers trading Paul George this summer if the team failed to meet expectations,” he wrote. “Hence, a possible McCollum to the Clippers package.”
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. When LA flamed out versus the Denver Nuggets last year, team owner Steve Ballmer exploded. He quite literally wanted to trade all the players and fire all the coaches. Through that lens, him being willing to quit on George after a second consecutive failure is understandable.
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 16, 2021
Of course, that didn’t end up happening. George played well in the playoffs and seems to have won over a lot of his teammates who thought he was a joke and didn’t respect him at all last year.
Plus, with Leonard’s now questionable status with the organization – George may soon be the lone star remaining in a Clippers uniform.
There is really no scenario where a George-for-McCollum deal happens now, but the fact that it was once proposed is pretty telling.
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