No way around it, the Clippers were a disappointment this NBA season. One of the heavy favorites going in, and they blew a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in the second round. Doc Rivers was fired, understandably so, he's blown a 3-1 lead three times in his career. But this one, wasn't his entirely his fault. There was a missing persons case for Paul George this NBA playoffs. In fact, Paul George hasn't had a good playoffs since he left Indiana. Many were clowning him in the first round against Dallas, but I actually let that round slide, he had a positive plus-minus in all games except one that series, and he had a 35 point outing in a crucial game five victory in a 2-2 series. But the second round is where things got bad. He had four negative plus-minus games in the Denver series, including a horrifying -23 in game 6 and a -20 in game 7. The only reason his game 7 plus-minus was better than game 6 was because the rest of his team was terrible alongside him. 25% from the field and 18% percent from three in a game 7? You can't be called Playoff P until you rectify that. What's worse, is the amount of value the Clippers gave up for him. Five first round picks, with the Thunder given the option to swap two additional first round Clippers picks, a high potential, young player in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a useful stretch big like Danilo Gallinari. In other words, the Clippers traded their future for Paul George, and it get's even worse. Both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are free agents next year. If they don't win a championship this upcoming season, will they stay? Not likely. The NBA is more about chasing championships than it's ever been. So if George and Kawhi leave in 2021, the Clippers would have given up their future for... nothing really.
Here are 5 trade destinations for Paul George.
5. Miami Heat
The Heat need that one other scoring option alongside Jimmy, Paul George fits their 3 and D system but the issue would be what the Heat give back for him. They will not have a lottery draft pick, and they like their young players. The Heat are more likely to try and sign a superstar next free agency rather than give up young players in a trade. But if they want to go for the Chip next year, they could give away Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder and a 1'st for Paul George.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves are on this list simply because they have the number 1 pick. I could have put the Nets in this spot but the cap space situation there is a bit clustered. The Timberwolves have a large contract in James Johnson to unload, solid players like Malik Beasley and Josh Okogie and a lottery pick last year in Jarrett Culver. This is still not very likely to happen, but the Clippers get a very good off ball guard in Beasley, another defender in Okogie and the number 1 overall pick in the draft. The Timberwolves become playoff contenders with a formidable trio of Russell, George and Towns, with newfound free agent attraction.
3. Utah Jazz
The Jazz need a second scoring star with Donovan Mitchell. I strongly believe that Donovan should be the Jazz's point guard as his playmaking has drastically improved and he's nearly impossible to stop with his quickness and pull up jumpshot in the pick and roll. Paul George provides defense as well as another scoring option to isolate, without worrying about Jordan Clarkson jacking up a three. The Clippers clearly need size, Rudy Gobert would be perfect to defend the paint. Perhaps a George and Zubac trade for Gobert, Conley and a 1'st would be beneficial for both teams.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
Sixers fans... Simmons and Embiid just might not work together. The team will have to pick between one, and the organization seems more inclined to build around Ben. Trading Embiid for George might be a possibility, with a few other pieces from each team involved, or possibly just a swap. There is the strange issue of Doc Rivers just having been hired by the Sixers, he might not want anything to do with Paul George anymore.
1. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks need a second superstar, Middleton is good, but he's not a second option on a Championship team by any means. Paul George is a better catch and shoot player compared to Middleton, who is more of an isolation mid range specialist, who can be streaky at times from the three. Paul George is also the better defender and probably the better slasher, he played off ball with a slasher like Russell Westbrook, and was actually an MVP candidate, and Giannis is a really a taller, better, version of Westbrook. Perhaps Paul George for Middleton, Bledsoe and a 1'st would be a possible trade this offseason.
It will be interesting to see what the Clippers do this offseason after the dissapointing year, I see Harrell leaving this offseason, because some team like the Hornets or the Knicks will pay him a lot more than the Clippers. If they don't win a championship next year, Kawhi and George will most likely be out and they'll be left without stars or draft picks for the foreseeable future. Might be better to trade George now.