Will Clippers Trade Paul George To Knicks?

Will Clippers Trade Paul George To Knicks?

The Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are two teams headed in very different directions. The latter has underperformed on a seemingly annual basis, most recently making the playoffs in 2013. The former is a legitimate title contender who came up short on their quest for a championship this year.

On paper, these squads seem to have little in common.

However, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, that may not be completely true.

This week, Berman suggested a potential swap between Los Angeles and New York centered around Paul George.

“The Knicks desperately need a starting small forward since Marcus Morris was dealt to the Clippers,” he wrote.

“Because of his low-energy defense, Kevin Knox may only become at best a sixth-man scorer. This might be the deal in which the Knicks have to put either RJ Barrett or Mitchell Robinson on the table as George, 30, is in his two-way prime.”

George has become something of a lightning rod in recent weeks. Immediately after the Clippers got bounced from the second round by the Denver Nuggets, negative reports regarding him started emerging from the locker room.

There was the one about his teammates not being especially fond of him in general. And then the one about how they didn’t respect him. Plus the one about him and Montrezl Harrell. As well as the infamous “eye rolls and bewilderment” incident.

And that’s to say nothing of the time when Kawhi Leonard’s trainer straight up publicly clowned him with no remorse.

All of which is to say, it would certainly make sense if George and the Clippers decided to move on from each other. The 30-year-old star is owed $35.5 million next season, and then $37.9 million the following year.

The big, obvious question here is: what would the Clippers get out of dealing away George at this stage?

For one, if they don’t believe he is truly capable of being a vital part of a championship team, they can get rid of his massive contract and get something in return for it. Beyond that, the team gave up a lot to get him. Many draft picks, bunches of young talent. This could be a way to recoup some of that loss.

A lot obviously comes down to how much the Knicks think Barrett is worth versus how much the Clippers think he is worth, because New York has little else of value to bring to the table.

If the Knicks do offer up Barrett, the rationale behind it would be clear – you get yourself a Paul George in hopes of landing a second big star to pair with him down the line. Between the big bright lights of New York and the bevy of unsatisfied soon-to-be free agents in small markets, it’s not the worst gamble in the world.

Of course, it’s also a gamble the Knicks have made countless times over the last decade and lost on.

All in all, George probably isn’t going anywhere. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer got rid of a problematic head coach and likely wants to see what the next one will be able to do with two talented pieces in Leonard and George before taking any additional extreme measures.

But based on how much friction there seems to be in the locker room between George and his teammates, it also wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world if got dealt.

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Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.

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