The Los Angeles Clippers pulled off two massive deals on early Saturday morning. They signed Kawhi Leonard, because they agreed to a trade for Paul George. Los Angeles gave the Thunder four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first round pick, two pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari for George. The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Clippers are sending the Thunder four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps, league sources tell ESPN. Those picks go to OKC with Gallinari and SGA.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
Leonard made it clear that he would sign with the Clippers if they could land George, so the Clippers went all out to make the deal. After making the playoffs last season and now adding two stars to the core of the team, the Clippers should be considered one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals next season.
For the Thunder, this might signal the start of a rebuild. They were in a good position to compete in the Western Conference, but now will be relying heavily on Russell Westbrook to carry them. If they kept George they would likely try to compete, but with so many picks in the deal, Thunder general manager Sam Presti may choose to start retooling the team.
Oklahoma City got a solid player in Gallinari, who averaged 19.8 points per game last season, but he isn’t a star like George. The Thunder got a good haul just by what is mentioned already, but they also got one of the best rookies from last season as part of the deal in Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander put up 10.8 points and 3.3 assists per game.
Leonard waited for a few days into the free agency period, but by demanding the Clippers get George before signing, he has created an environment for him to succeed in a new city.