Arguably the biggest move of the summer arrived at 9:41 p.m. ET Friday night, exactly two hours and 19 minutes ahead of NBA’s big free agency period to open.
Paul George was shipped West, far away from the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, but not quite to Los Angeles, where Magic Johnson and the Lakers are certainly anticipating him arriving this time next summer.
Instead he’ll pair with Russell Westbrook after being swapped for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. And it’s that part of the deal that reportedly has league executives baffled.
Both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe reported the Celtics made multiple offers for George that included the (1st) 2017 Brooklyn Nets pick and three other picks, (2nd offer) three starters and two first-round picks and (3rd offer) two starters and three first-round picks.
Here’s what one league exec told the Herald:
“I can see what OKC is doing, but I really can’t believe this from Indiana’s standpoint. There’s no way you can’t get more than that. And you’ve got to get at least something in the way of draft picks.”
And one more:
“I can understand what Boston’s thinking on that,” he said. “If you’re only guaranteed to have George for one year, you have to ask yourself whether he’s going to be able to win it all for you with whatever else you’re able to put together. And with Golden State sitting there, how realistic is that? Not very.”
Now comes the interesting part for Oklahoma City. Can the Thunder and Westbrook convince another star to stay? That will likely rely on how this season plays out.
And for the Celtics, after losing out on Option 1 for the second year in a row, they’ll turn toward Gordon Hayward in hopes of snatching the consolation prize out of the hands of the Miami Heat and Utah Jazz.