The Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to rebuild after essentially being forced to unload Paul George and Russell Westbrook over the summer, but George believes his former team came away just fine after dealing him to the Los Angeles Clippers.
After George’s go-ahead three-pointer with just over 25 seconds left helped the Clippers defeat Oklahoma City on Monday, the star swingman said he believes the trade OKC made involving him “worked out great.” He was complimentary of second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and veteran Danilo Gallinari, whom the Thunder acquired in the deal, and pointed to all the draft picks his former team landed.
“I thought it worked out great for them,” George said, via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I think Shai is a future star, and he’s proven that he can carry a load … him just being under (Chris Paul), he is going to learn so much. So they got a star.
“And Danilo is a proven big-time scorer. And then how many picks that they got? Their future is bright. Sam Presti is a proven expert at drafting.”
Gilgeous-Alexander is certainly off to a hot start, as he’s averaging 19.7 points per game. Gallinari was only involved in the deal to match salaries, but the Thunder landed a whopping five first-round picks in the George trade (two from the Miami Heat) and the rights to swap two future first-rounders. If you have to trade a star player, that is the way to do it.
Obviously, the Thunder would rather still have George and Westbrook. George is right that they will be in good hands with Presti building the roster, but there have been rumblings about him potentially leaving to join another organization. If that happens, it would be one of Oklahoma City’s biggest losses to date.