Paul George’s insights on player empowerment, exit from OKC raise eyebrows

Paul George comments on OKC Thunder (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Paul George comments on OKC Thunder (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
OKC Thunder
Paul George talks OKC Thunder exit (Photo by Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Daily Breeze via Getty Images) /

George’s comments felt staged for PR:

But if we dive deeper into what George says and more importantly what he isn’t saying the answers are clearer. To wit, for PG to imply when he signed his four-year deal it was prefaced in the room with Sam Presti with I’ll give it one year and if it doesn’t work I want to be traded to LA. Nor, does it seem likely he said that to Westbrook.

More from Thunderous Intentions

This statement gets even more aggravating when you consider George earned one of the three spots to win both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Newsflash – that’s because THIS was his best season ever! The wingman posted career highs in points (28.0), rebounds (8.2) and steals (2.2) so – stagnant hmm – not even close.

Even when PG answered this question he said um and you know more than any other question which implies it wasn’t a straight forward answer.

If we are to draw any conclusions from this answer it’s more likely he personally (and perhaps Russell) weren’t happy with the team depth or compilation.

What George needs to understand is when you get a max contract and you play with a supermax contracted player that means there will be limited funds remaining. Even in his current scenario although there is apparent depth now, there are still gaps. Montrezl Harrell is a high energy guy but I noticed on recent TV projections they expect him to be playing center in clutch time.

Ummm – so how precisely do the Clippers plan on stopping big men? That will be a factor when they face squads like the Lakers (Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins) the Nuggets (Nikola Jokic) or the Blazers (once Jusuf Nurkic returns).

For example, his new running mate Leonard learned how important one player could be during the Raptors title run when Marc Gasol quite literally shut down Nikola Vucevic in the Magic series, and again in each of the next two series Gasol along with Serge Ibaka factored facing large frontcourts like the 76ers and Bucks. In its current iteration, the Clippers don’t have a Gasol type player or an Ibaka for that matter. That’s not to say they can’t obtain them, but the funds available are limited now with the pair on the books.

Moreover, the Clippers draft cupboard was left virtually empty (thanks to Sam Presti) to obtain George and Leonard. So will he want out of LA if in two years the Clippers haven’t reached the pinnacle or players like Lou Williams, Harrell and JaMychal Green exit?

The part that is bothersome for me personally is Westbrook did alter his game so George could excel (until he got hurt he was the primary scorer at all times in the game). Presti stayed committed via re-signing Jerami Grant, kept Steven Adams in the fold and went out to get Dennis Schroder.

There was only so much the second-smallest market in the NBA could do while being at the top of the salaried teams because they kept having to pay the luxury tax. Perhaps Presti didn’t land some diamonds in the rough to PG’s liking or Donovan didn’t expedite the in house talent quickly enough for George’s liking. But had he not suffered those injuries would the results this postseason have been the same?