Paul George Free Agency: 5 possible destinations for free-agent Paul George
In the summer of 2017, when Paul George (PG), four-time NBA All-Star and the Most Improved NBA player (2013), declared his intentions to leave Indiana Pacers, the club which drafted him into the NBA in 2010, it was seen as a positive move by the player to re-ignite his career by joining an elite side who will be challenging for the title.
Oklahoma City Thunder, a team still recovering from the loss of Kevin Durant to their major rivals Golden State Warriors in 2016, swooped in to secure the coveted signature. It was the perfect plan to disrupt Warriors’ domination of the Western Conference – to pivot the team around the defensively sound PG, the experienced Carmelo Anthony (also acquired in the 2017), and the indomitable Russell Westbrook.
OKC’s season, though, didn’t match the expected heights and ended with a humiliating 4-2 loss to Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs. Personally for George, the season saw a dip in his offensive performances, especially his conversion rates. While PG excelled in defence, leading the OKC team in deflections (4.6 per game), steals (2.2 per game) and distance covered (4.11 km per contest), his three-point shooting percentage dropped from 46.1 in the 2016-17 season to 43. He also averaged 21.0 points per match as opposed to 23.7 in his final season in Indiana.
George still remains a valuable asset and there will be may suitors for his signature in the summer of 2018 when he turns a free-agent. We look at four possible destinations for the 28-year-old PG who is entering what is arguably the best part of his career.#5 Pheonix Suns
#5 Phoenix Suns
Guaranteed Salaries: $70,667,235
Expected free-agent holds: Elfrid Payton
Projected cap space: $ 2 million (approx)
Even though the Suns finished last in the Western conference, they remaining an exciting franchise with a rich pedigree which might attract George. The likes of Alex Len, Dragan Bender and Tyson Chandler will remain with the team for the upcoming season, while the Suns have also won the NBA lottery which could see them sign young star Deandre Ayton.
The Suns are reportedly happy to trade with their #1 pick for an established star, and if they secure the services of Paul George, they will be well and truly be back in contention for the Conference title.
The framework is right for PG-13 to step in and play a lead role.