Clippers’ Paul George To Test Free Agency; Multiple Suitors Linked

Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA Rumors
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers’ offseason plans have taken a dramatic turn, as Paul George is likely to enter NBA free agency after contract extension talks with the team stalled.

George, who has been with the Clippers since 2019, was expected to sign a long-term extension with the team. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, negotiations have reportedly broken down, and George is now set to explore his options in free agency.

“So he’s been under contract negotiations with the Clippers for months. No deal, and I think he is likely headed for free agency. The question really is this: Will they give him a max contract? I don’t think that they want to. They didn’t give Kawhi a max contract. And there’s a couple of teams out there, namely the 76ers, who have max cap space that would be interested. I suspect, at the end of the day, if the Clippers actually believe they would lose Paul George, if they don’t give him max, I think they pay up.”

George and James Harden are both set to become free agents this offseason after failing to reach long-term agreements with the Clippers. The team’s first-round exit from the playoffs has led to uncertainty about the future of the two stars.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

When asked about his plans, George told reporters, “I’m not even focused on that yet. I got a lot to kind of digest myself, so I haven’t even got to that yet. Look forward to kind of going back, just letting everything kind of decompress, talk to my family, be around family support and then address the next step. … Yeah, it’s just not where I’m at. I’m not there yet.”

Harden also expressed uncertainty, saying, “I don’t even know. You are asking a lot of questions that I don’t have the answer to or haven’t even thought about.”

The Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard to a three-year, $153 million extension in January, leading many to assume George’s new deal would follow soon after. However, months have passed without a deal, and the impasse may be related to the Clippers’ reluctance to offer George a max contract.

George’s situation is complicated by the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to have max cap space this summer and have him at the top of their wish list, according to Windhorst. The 76ers offer a chance to play with younger, healthier All-Stars in Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, which could be an attractive option for George.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

It remains to be seen whether George will choose to stay with his hometown team or explore other options in free agency. The Clippers have spent years building around George and Leonard, but injuries have limited their playoff success.

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