Thunder urged to consider reunion with former star, and it's not Kevin Durant

New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Since the conclusion of their 2023-24 campaign, many news outlets and media pundits have been preaching about how this OKC Thunder team still requires some tweaking to better their odds of contending for a title, with many citing both their lack of size, physicality, and overall experience as major deterrents in potentially achieving these lofty aspirations.

One popular hypothetical move that many have been banging on their proverbial drums about is the concept of rekindling their relationship with former franchise legend and current Phoenix Suns cornerstone power forward, Kevin Durant.

Needless to say, the idea has been regularly panned among the Oklahoma City fanbase.

Though he would address essentially every aforementioned factor that aided in the club's ultimate demise in the second round against the Dallas Mavericks, while also adding another All-NBA talent along the way, to a large portion of the franchise's faithful followers the sour feelings of his departure from the Thunder back in 2016 are still alive and in full effect.

Nevertheless, a reunion with a former star still playing at All-Star levels may not be such a bad idea for this young and exciting franchise to contemplate, and Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes believes Paul George may be the ideal target to consider in such a situation.

Thunder urged to consider reunion with Paul George this offseason

Considering their enviable cap space which registers in at roughly $33 million this summer, the Thunder are in a prime position to strike on one of this year's potential top-billed free agents.

Of course, with George's $48 million player option for next season looming, the most enticing way for a reunion to take place would almost certainly come via a sign-and-trade of sorts between OKC and the LA Clippers, and Hughes proposed a swap of sorts that could stand to benefit all parties involved.

"From George's perspective, the Thunder offer a far clearer shot at contention and don't need him to occupy the alpha role he's never quite fit into.

If winning is the goal, George might not be able to do any better than Oklahoma City.

The Thunder don't need to swing this big. They could hoard their picks and bank on organic growth. At the same time, this exceptionally young team feels like it's only a player away from reaching the A-1 contender class.

Swap Giddey out for George, and instead of an exploitable postseason weakness in the starting five, the Thunder would have an All-NBA star. Even if George slips as he moves deeper into his 30s, he's certainly not going to be someone opposing defenses dare to shoot on offense and attack on defense."

Grant Hughes

Like Durant, George still finds himself producing at a high-end level at this stage in his career and is coming off yet another All-Star season where he dropped nightly averages of 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals while shooting a highly efficient 47.1 percent from the floor and 41.3 percent from deep.

Unlike Durant, however, the 34-year-old left the Thunder in good standing during the summer of 2019, as he found himself coming off a campaign where he finished third in the running for MVP, was selected to the All-NBA First Team, and posted sensational averages of 28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.2 steals per game.

Had it not been for Sam Presti's decision to trade Russell Westbrook and embark on a full-fledged rebuild, it's likely that the forward would have remained out in Loud City for the duration of his, then, recently inked four-year, $137 million deal.

On top of all this, since joining on with the Clippers, George has shown an affinity to play more of a second in command role rather than continuing to lead as alpha dog for a team, which would likely bode well with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander already serving as the latter.

With his well-documented All-Defensive skills, offensive expertise, and 6-foot-8 frame, in the event that the veteran reunited with the Thunder, coach Mark Daigneault would be able to have even more freedom when it comes to his in-game rotations, as he could continue to run his preferred lineup of Chet Holmgren out at the five while, in theory, slotting in the interchangeable George anywhere from the two all the way down to the four.

Though, in fairness, Hughes noted in his piece that this hypothetical idea could "surprise" a lot of people, from both his fit on the team and, frankly, an entertainment standpoint, Oklahoma City bringing back Paul George should be strongly considered by both parties.