When the LA Clippers acquired Paul George from OKC Thunder, they expected him to lead the franchise to multiple rings alongside Kawhi Leonard in what looked like a three-year championship window. After falling well short of expectations, the LA Clippers are in disarray with NBA trade rumors already pointing that Paul George's time in Los Angeles could come to a quick end.
NBA Trade Rumors: Looking for Paul George's replacements that would suit LA Clippers
The LA Clippers won't move Paul George for the sake of it. He's still an elite two-way player in his prime. He may not have been the perfect fit besides Kawhi Leonard but he could find that match on another franchise. And thus, it wouldn't come as a surprise if the LA Clippers flip him for another superstar.
On that note, let us look at the three big names that could replace Paul George at LA Clippers.
#1 Russell Westbrook
One of LA Clippers' biggest shortcomings this year was the lack of a true playmaker. Russell Westbrook can come in and rectify that situation. The 2017 MVP managed double digits in assists for three straight years prior to this season and he can replicate those numbers again if afforded a good ball usage rate.
Acquiring Westbrook would certainly mean a step down on defense from Paul George, taking on a bigger contract, and losing out on three-point shooting. At the same time, Westbrook would improve the speed and ball movement while being an upgrade as a scorer despite being a non-shooter.
This deal would make sense for Houston Rockets as well since they'll get a 3-and-D superstar that truly fits into their current system.
#2 Chris Paul
It would indeed be the case of life coming a full circle if Chris Paul finds himself wearing an LA Clippers jersey again, but it would be much more than just a comeback story. CP3 would solve two huge problems for Steve Ballmer's side. He would not only take care of the playmaking, he would also act as the glue that the team was in dire need of during this year's playoffs.
OKC Thunder want to get some salary off their books so they will be willing to accept a trade for Chris Paul with Paul George moving the other way since they'll likely be getting additional pieces for the salaries to match.
The Thunder could even return a couple of the many first-rounders they acquired by sending PG13 to LA in the first place. Once this deal is done, it shouldn't be difficult for the Thunder to flip Paul George to another franchise either.
#3 Ben Simmons
A trade for Ben Simmons would depend more on whether the Philadelphia 76ers want to consider moving the young stalwart. But in case they do, a swap for Paul George makes sense for both parties.
In addition to his elite passing ability, Simmons would possibly be an upgrade on George on the defensive front for the LA Clippers. He missed some games this year but has had fewer struggles with injuries as compared to George. Most importantly, he's younger of the two and there's always the chance that he finally develops a jump shot.
As far as Paul George is concerned, his addition would allow Philly to finally move Tobias Harris back to the power forward's spot again. With Shake Milton, Josh Richardson, and Joel Embiid completing the starting lineup, the Sixers would improve their scoring ability without losing much on defense.
Published 08 Oct 2020, 22:21 IST