NBA Trade News: Thunder not ready to move Paul George

By @saihoops on
Paul George, NBA Free Agency 2018
Nov 10, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) shoots the ball defended by LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. USA TODAY Sports / Mark D. Smith

The Oklahoma City Thunder (15-15) have yet to discuss a potential Paul George trade, according to a new report. With the Big 3 experiment not going as planned, the Thunder front office could make some tough calls ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA Trade Deadline. 

This offseason, the Thunder acquired All-Stars George and Carmelo Anthony via a series of trades, putting together a formidable roster around reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. However, the accumulation of star talent hasn't helped the Thunder sustain a winning formula as Westbrook & Co. are barely clinging to the eighth playoff seed in the West. At the start of the season, several analysts expected Thunder to emerge as a legitimate threat to the Golden State Warriors (24-6), Houston Rockets (25-4) and San Antonio Spurs (21-10).

George, an unrestricted free agent in July, has been linked strongly to the Los Angeles Lakers. Even if George decides to remain in Oklahoma City, the Thunder front office could struggle to persist with its current trajectory of an expensive roster and luxury tax ramifications. Unlike George, Carmelo Anthony is expected to opt into the Player Option on the final year of his five-year max contract. 

NBA Trade Deadline: Paul George trade on the cards?

According to The Bleacher Report, the Thunder haven't shown any impulse to pull the trigger on a Paul George trade, knowing well that the All-Star forward is unlikely to commit to them beyond the 2017-18 NBA season. NBA insider Ken Berger wonders if George would give Thunder a heads up, similar to the circumstances surrounding his departure from Indiana. 

"So as rival teams begin wondering if George could be available at the trade deadline if the Thunder's struggles continue, there's something else worth wondering: If George concludes that his Oklahoma City experience will be one-and-done, will he be inclined to give the Thunder the same kind of heads up?"

While George admits that the Big 3 is a one-year experiment, he's not willing to throw in the towel just 30 games into the season. "Well, I think this is a different scenario because it's our only year together as far as we're on one-year contracts. We all enjoy playing with one another. This could possibly be me being here for multiple years. But ... I'm not going to just throw it in and be like, 'No, I'm done with this.' We've got a long, long, long season ahead of us. And I'm committed to that," George said in a recent interview.

The Lakers are expected to be extremely active ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA Trade Deadline. The new Lakers front office, led by president Magic Johnson, created cap room this offseason with hopes of putting together a Super Team in 2018. The Cleveland Cavaliers are another franchise that could make a run at a Paul George trade, after nearly acquiring the former Pacers star in July. Stay tuned for the latest NBA Trade News.