The NBA trade deadline is coming up on February 8th and OKC GM Sam Presti has an interesting decision to make. Paul George, whom he traded for last offseason, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. OKC is playing well of late, winners of 7 of their last 10, and it looks like they’re on track to make a deep playoff run. Is that enough for George to stay? Can Presti afford to take that risk?
Presti has assembled a squad in OKC that looks like it can contend. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook is the eye of the storm, with PG-13, and Carmelo Anthony forming their version of a super team. If the Thunder advance deep into the playoffs, perhaps that will be enough of an incentive for PG-13 to re-sign this summer. For his part, Presti and management are rolling the dice and remained committed to PG-13 going forward.
In an article filed today by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski he cites sources close to the situation:
For now, the Thunder are fully committed to playing out the season with impending free agent Paul George. They still have hope that a strong run in the playoffs could convince him to re-sign in Oklahoma City. Nevertheless, the Lakers were the team to beat when the Thunder made the trade, and that probably hasn’t changed — although Oklahoma City has made a favorable impression on George and ultimately hopes to turn George with a deep playoff run. George has remained open-minded on a Thunder future, but there’s a long way to go.
As it currently stands the Thunder are the 5th seed and probably the third or fourth best team in the western conference. They are probably not going to make the NBA Finals, but if things break right they can make the conference finals. If they make a run, does that make PG want to stay?
Presti already prematurely broke up the team’s first big three (Harden trade) and assumed Kevin Durant would stay in 2016. If they lose PG this summer and get nothing in return, remember they gave up Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis that’s a bad look for Presti.