It surprised the NBA world; a superstar such as Paul George forcing a trade out of Indiana.
Even more surprising? The Pacers obliged and sent George off in a trade. But George, who was linked to teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets (among others) didn’t land with any of the teams many thought he would land with.
George ended up being dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal for Victor Oladipo. and Domantas Sabonis.
Although other teams made strong offers, such as the Lakers (offering either Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle along with their two 1st round picks) and the Celtics (who balked when Indiana proposed a return of three 1st round picks), the Pacers chose Oklahoma City.
The deal shocked the NBA, fans and even George.
“I thought I was going to four or five other teams that were pretty active in trade [talks]. When I found out it was OKC, I was quite surprised, but at the same time I was happy about the trade. I was thrilled, I was looking forward to it. All I wanted was a chance and an opportunity to play for something special and ultimately to try and win a championship, and right off the bat I think I can do that here playing alongside Russ [Russell Westbrook].”
The pairing of Westbrook and George should elevate the Thunder to immediate contention and could persuade George, who has his eyes set on the Lakers, to opt to stay in Oklahoma City for the future.