Los Angeles Clippers’ eight-time All-Star Paul George is one of the New York Knicks‘ trade targets this summer, as Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reported on May 20, as they intend to build on their second-round playoff run this season.
The Clippers, however, have expressed their intent to continue building around George and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. So, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale suggested that a three-team trade is the only way to grease the wheels of a potential blockbuster trade to bring George to New York and pair him with rising star Jalen Brunson.
“[The Clippers] are not on the precipice of rebuilding. A package built around some combo of Immanuel Quickley, R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin and a caps-lock DRAFT HAUL won’t wow them. But three-team trades exist for a reason, and the sheer breadth of assets the Knicks can unload will start conversations that otherwise wouldn’t take place,” Favale wrote.
The Knicks would need a third team to flip their young players and picks into a solid, albeit a younger George replacement next to Leonard to keep the Clippers’ title bid alive.
Paul George’s Fit With the Knicks
It’s not hard to see why the Knicks are enamored with the prospect of adding George after their lack of outside shooting hampered them from advancing past the second round of the playoffs.
“Paul George would be ideal. His outside shooting is equal parts high volume (almost nine attempts per 36 minutes since 2018-19), super-efficient (38.8 percent) and scales to many forms. He can generate his own triples but has experience playing off more ball-dominant teammates,” Favale wrote.
George is one of the top two-way wings in the league when healthy, so theoretically, he will fit seamlessly with Tom Thibodeau’s schemes.
The only issue, Favale pointed out, is George’s durability.
“George is 33 and hasn’t missed fewer than 18 games since 2018-19. But he’s not dealing with chronic injuries, and his game will age well. It has aged well,” Favale wrote.
George is owed $45.6 million next season and has a $48.7 million player option for the 2024-25 season.
RJ Barrett to Be Part of Knicks Package for Star: GM
An anonymous NBA general manager is certain that RJ Barrett will become a casualty in the Knicks’ star-hunting.
“[Barrett] will be a piece if they make a major deal,” an Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney. “They’re not going to just trade RJ as the main component of a trade, but if they want to get [Damian] Lillard or KAT (Karl-Anthony Towns) or even OG Anunoby or (Pascal) Siakam, it is probably going to mean including him. But if it is not a player like that, then they will keep RJ and maybe try to move him next summer if he does not take that step forward.”
Barrett’s poison pill will be lifted on July 1 when the free agency begins, meaning his $23.8 million salary for next season will be counted at face value, eradicating complications in salary matching in a potential trade.
Barrett’s $107 million rookie extension he signed last summer, which could go up to $120 million if he hits all bonuses, kicks in starting next season.