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Paul George – who allegedly opted out of his OKC Thunder contract to become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski – is a talent so malleable that he could fit anywhere.
Which NBA team would not be able to use their defensive skills, which allow them to flutter on the half court by closing the pbad lines and diverting one feeding after another? Who would not want to use the high scoring talents that are shown in both ball and offside scenarios?
The answer is simple: such an organization does not exist, because George's bidirectional skills make him an ideal player in the modern Association.
But he is not choosing among 30 squadrons. Only a few select options are able to tempt him for a new contract, and options range from re-signing with Oklahoma City Thunder to pitching for an Eastern Conference franchise on the rise.
George has the luxury of choosing between teams that allow him to showcase his stuff and compete immediately for a championship. So, if your favorite squad is not one of the six that we cover here, you should probably prepare for disappointment and start mentally preparing for searches for other free agent goals.
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If purple and gold can land LeBron James (and / or Kawhi Leonard through an exchange), they would become an even more attractive destination for Paul Jorge. He could have realistic visions of a superteam dancing in his head, as well as thoughts of rings won while traveling beyond the many obstacles contained within the ranks of the brutal Western Conference.
But even if it were the only star that was going to the Lakers, we can not rule them out.
He would still be a strong player along with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle, who would probably be brought to a new agreement in this scenario that no longer involves James or Leonard. Not only would he prove capable of taking on the role of shooting superstar, he also performs many catch-and-fire tricks outside of Ball's transmissions, but he would be the defensive ace needed to complete Los Angeles's ascent of the defensive rating. clbadifications
And we can not forget the attraction of the hometown.
That's why George has been permanently linked to the Lakers, after all. Even when the franchise was still operating in an oppressed state and trying to recover from its unsuccessful superteam efforts in the final stages of Kobe Bryant's career, the world of basketball observation knew, if only in the collective mind, that this man was always a flight risk due to that temptation of LA.
George was born in Palmdale, California. He did not leave the state until completing his high school career and exploding at Fresno State. As Vigilant Sports & Scott Agness said last July: "I grew up as a fan of the Lakers and the Clippers, Idolabilized Kobe, there will always be a draw here, a connection here. I want to come here, who does not want to play in their hometown? It's a dream come true, if you're a kid growing up outside of LA, be the man of your city. "
Of course The Lakers are a main contender this offseason, especially now that they're swimming in youth talent.
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Who says everything has to change?
Paul George has reasons to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but first he will have to look at a couple of negatives.
His final memory of the 2017-18 season will be an inglorious existence at the hands of Donovan Mitchell and Utah Jazz during the opening round of the playoffs. Carmelo Anthony has opted for his contract and controlled those who were upset with his decision, and the election comes at a moment not too far from his statement that he would not even consider accepting a banking role.
" Yes, I'm not sacrificing any banking role," he said, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com. "That's out of the question."
But Anthony's inability to read tea leaves aside, George found quite successful during his first season in Oklahoma City. Before Andre Roberson was lost during the year, an injury that should be considered more of a landscape disruption, the Thunder looked like legitimate contenders to challenge the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference.
In fact, the alignments with Russell Westbrook, Roberson, George and Steven Adams outweighed the opponents by a whopping 14.2 points per 100 possessions, according to PBPStats.com. That would be the number one net ranking in the league, easily outstripping those of the Rockets (8.5) and Warriors (8.0).
George and Westbrook can coexist. When surrounded by stellar defenders on the wings and in the painted area, they form a dominant duo that keeps opponents out of balance at both ends. Those two alone even registered a net score of 6.4 while playing more minutes than all but two tandems in the entire league: Anthony / Westbrook (network clbadification of 4.1) and Taj Gibson / Andrew Wiggins (4.6).
If this 28 year old player leaves the Thunder behind, it will not be because the experiment has failed. Quite the opposite. He would simply be looking for greener pastures than the already exuberant ones he experienced in Sooner State.
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This only works if LeBron James decides to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If the four-time MVP decided to leave northeast Ohio, there would be nothing left to convince Paul George to wear a uniform of wine and gold. He will not play along with Collin Sexton, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Kyle Korver, JR Smith and the rest of the starting Cavs, while they joined zero star teammates.
Sorry. It's just the truth.
But if James chooses to keep the organization of his hometown, everything changes. The attraction of working together with the best player in the game could severely influence George's decision.
Just imagine the appeal for both players.
James would have an ace defender joining him in the wings, ready to take on the toughest badignments each night so that the aging striker would stay for the most important time of the year. George would put his things in the spotlight, knock down James's jumpers and have virtually guaranteed a legitimate path through the Eastern Conference. Note: not necessarily a trip to the end, but at least a reasonable roadmap. for them
The Cavaliers might not have much space on the top to attract a third star (and just to get George on board, they would have to shell out a significant salary or convince him to back down and complete a signature and swap) , but they could still remedy that in two different ways. First, they could attract Golden State Warriors and have useful veterans like David West, who want to pursue them while operating in smaller businesses. Secondly, they could buy Sexton and other attractive young pieces (Ante Zizic and Cedi Osman, right?) For a more established collaborator.
The positive side is palpable. It has to be that way if George joins James.
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No team makes more sense for Paul George than the Philadelphia 76ers.
Do you want an organization that can surround you with fellow stars capable of pushing you to an appearance in the NBA Finals? Absolutely, and the combination of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can offer on that front.
Do you want young people in your support cast so you can see this destination as a long-term home with a possibility of dynamic levels of mastery? Simmons is only 21, Embiid is only 24 and we have not even touched Darío Saric (24), Robert Covington (27), Markelle Fultz (20) and incoming rookie Zhaire Smith (19).
But even beyond those superficial level criteria, your skill set would fit perfectly with the talent of the holders. George's bi-directional capabilities allow him to run smoothly with almost any organization, but his main gifts are what head coach Brett Brown constantly seeks: go-to scoring and perimeter defense.
Even without George, the Sixers were one of the most stingy teams in the NBA in 2017-18, allowing a meager 102.0 points per 100 possessions. After the All-Star break, that number dropped to 100.8, which left them behind the Utah Jazz (96.0). Everything clicked, with wings, guards and forwards changing indistinctly, since Embiid could contain everything inside. He throws George's offside defense into the mix, allowing him to side with Simmons, Covington, Saric and Embiid, and it might be impossible to score against Philadelphia.
Offensively, you may still be in better shape.
George can not only serve as the creative throwing presence that the young Sixers have been losing in situations that require a bucket generated by the rebound, but scored 1.22 points per possession position until dropping to the 93rd percentile during his year with the Thunder. He can fill the role of JJ Redick and do much more, further diversifying an offense that sometimes stagnates despite the presence of generational talents.
If George wants to win now and in the future – in doing so, even if he sacrifices a little attention – he knows who to call.
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First you have to sneak by Jrue Holiday, who is ready to greet him at the point of attack and continue to function as one of the most dangerous defenders in the NBA. Then you have to look at Paul George, making sure that the wing stop that rages can not jump to a pbad line and increase his remarkable amount of deviations. If everything goes according to plan, he should still cheat Anthony Davis, who now serves as the New Orleans Pelicans' last line of defense in the basket.
The Pelicans were already a strong defense squad in 2017-18 with Holiday and Davis on the ground. With only 104.9 points for every 100 possessions, for PBPStats.com, they would have qualified in n. ° 12 of the league in the hierarchy of the entire season. And that's with a limited variety of wings that badist them, none of which is widely known as blocking advocates.
In fact, DeMarcus Cousins (3.6), Davis (2.3), Emeka Okafor (1.3), DeAndre Liggins (0.7), Solomon Hill (0.6) and Holiday (0.3) were the only members of the Pelicans to publish positive marks in defensive box plus / minus last year, and the three stars not combined to register only 784 minutes. George would be a game changer, even if acquiring it would require other sacrifices.
If George comes to the pelicans, Cousins is probably gone. The organization can not afford to keep it together with the high salaries of Holiday, Davis, Hill and Nikola Mirotic once this new acquisition is on board. Just adding the swingman could only require moving Hill or a combination of minor pieces such as Alexis Ajinca and Darius Miller. But that would be perfectly fine, because it means committing to a different identity, one implicit in the prevention of dexterity and talents even more complementary to those of the centerpiece that is aligned in 5.
Just stop and think of a composite alignment by Holiday, E & # 39; Twaun Moore, George, Mirotic, and Davis.
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This scenario has grown a bit more realistic during the opening part of the 2018 off-season. After the Indiana Pacers rejected Lance Stephenson's team option for 2018-1919, Paul George used Instagram to make his feelings known, not so subtly hinting that the organization, and not him, should have been seen as the bad one during his departure last summer.
As Chris Barnewall subsequently wrote for CBS Sports, the feelings of pain remain even if everything went well for both sides:
"George obviously is still a bit resentful at the fall of his separation with The Pacers Not everything in life can be clean and their situation definitely was not, however, it seems to have worked better for everyone involved George came to the playoffs, and now has the option of going where he wants to be. The Pacers made the playoffs, led the Cavaliers to seven games in the first round, and they have a future star in Oladipo.There's no need to get mad at each other! Even if they're 100% angry still with the one to the other. "
But, what if the animosity could be set aside?
A meeting with the Pacers would make a lot of sense to George now that the team has a co-star in Victor Oladipo, a rising center in Myles Turner and many other intriguing pieces. Even if Thaddeus Young opts in and retires, Indiana may have to collect a little salary to throw his ex-standout out of a maximum salary, but sending players like Al Jefferson and Cory Joseph in cost-cutting moves would not deplete the team's depth.
Also, putting together a combination of Oladipo-George would be worth it. That duo would not only thrive on the defensive end and help generate an Indiana rise in the standings allowed by the points, but would give head coach Nate McMillan the opportunity to make plays for two scorers capable of exploiting for 30 Points in any given night.
During the first seven years of George NBA's career, Lance Stephenson (3.0 in 2013-14), David West (3.3 in 2012-13) and George Hill (3.4 in 2012) -13) were his only teammates to increase the value of 3.0 over the replacement player (VORP). None of them could match Oladipo's 4.5 VORP of 2017-18, however.
Quality teammates would no longer be a concern.
Adam Fromal covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @ fromal09 .