Paul George To Enter Free Agency: Will Meet With These 3 Teams

Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA Rumors
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After declining his $48.8 million player option with the Los Angeles Clippers for the 2024-25 NBA season, Paul George is set to become a free agent. This decision by George makes a potential trade to the Golden State Warriors no longer a viable option.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, George plans to meet with the Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Orlando Magic once free agency begins. The Sixers are considered a legitimate threat to sign George, given their max cap space and ability to pair him with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

George is coming off his ninth All-Star season, averaging 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. However, the Clippers’ postseason run ended in the first round after being eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks, who went on to reach the NBA Finals.

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

Despite ongoing discussions between George and the Clippers throughout the season, they could not reach a new agreement. On March 29, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the two sides were “apart” on an extension. The potential financial implications for the Clippers, who have already spent $342.5 million this season between payroll and luxury tax payments, may have also played a role.

Given George’s current significant negotiating leverage over the Clippers as the top free agent in this year’s market, he understands he can draw up suitors, particularly with competitive Eastern Conference teams with spending power. However, the Clippers seemingly want to minimize their potential luxury tax implications with an expensive roster trying to avoid the second apron while understanding that George likely wants to stay in Los Angeles near his family.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Paul George, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Leonard had signed a three-year, $152.4 million extension through the 2026-27 season, slightly below the maximum contract. This gesture seemed to suggest Leonard was leaving room for the front office and also to secure extensions for George and James Harden, but it remains to be seen how it will play out.

Given the possibility of another disappointing postseason or injury to a star player, the Clippers face a challenging decision. George will be 34 next season and Leonard 33, raising questions about the viability of this core group. Leonard has repeatedly failed to avoid injuries in pivotal moments to such an extent that he’s never finished a run with the Clippers healthy.

Furthermore, with the Clippers moving into the Intiuit Dome next season, there’s been an underlying understanding that the team wants to draw in fans as well as possible.

George has complicated the Clippers’ situation by opting out of his deal, although this move didn’t surprise the front office. It’s the latest example of a high-stakes leverage play involving a superstar player and an NBA franchise. This upcoming contract could be the last significant one of George’s NBA career, whether he remains with the Clippers or joins another team.

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