The New York Knicks’ Quest for Paul George: A Complex Game of Risk and Reward
As the Paul George sweepstakes kick-off, the New York Knicks find themselves in a prime position to pursue the 8-time All-Star from the Los Angeles Clippers. However, navigating this endeavor promises to be far from straightforward.
Paul George Available, but Not Rushed
According to NBA Journalist Howard Beck’s appearance on the FnA Podcast, George is “certainly available” this off-season. However, he made it clear that the Clippers are not in a hurry to part ways with George. “They’re not trying to give him away, but they are trying to pivot,” Beck stated, pointing out the franchise’s frustration with recent performances.
The Paul George-Kawhi Leonard era in Los Angeles has been marked by high expectations and disappointing results. Plagued by numerous injuries to the two superstars, they’ve only played 142 of a possible 328 games together across four seasons, a mere 43% of all potential games. Despite reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2021, the Clippers haven’t made it past the first round since, ending in the Play-In Tournament in 2022 and bowing out in the first round in the latest season.
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The Knicks’ Interest Tempered by Concerns
Ian Begley of SNYtv reports that the Knicks have shown interest in George this offseason. However, the team has hesitated to commit due to concerns about his future health. George has been sidelined for substantial parts of every season during his tenure with the Clippers. In fact, a knee injury truncated his most recent season after just 56 games.
As reported by Andrew Greif and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Knicks initiated talks to acquire George but paused due to concerns about him asking for an extension if traded. The star forward is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025.
The Double-Edged Sword of Acquiring Paul George
Despite health concerns, George brings a potentially transformative two-way presence. Prior to his knee injury in March, he averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists for the season. However, given his age (33) and the looming injury risks, it’s understandable why the Knicks would hesitate to acquire George and his sizable $45.64 million salary for the upcoming season.
Adding Paul George could immediately turn the Knicks into serious contenders. However, his tenure with the Clippers shows that success is not guaranteed. The Knicks have managed to rebuild themselves into a playoff team without securing a big-name player. As they prepare to contend now, Leon Rose and the rest of the front office must decide whether betting on Paul George is a worthwhile risk for their future.