Knicks opt for youth over Paul George, who joins Eastern Conference rivals

NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks, knicks
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks won’t have Paul George donning blue and orange starting in 2024-25.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that George agreed to a massive four-year, $212 million max contract to join the Philadelphia 76ers in the wee hours of Monday, July 1 (h/t Yahoo Sports’ Jason Owens).

Knicks couldn’t compete with 76ers’ cap space in Paul George FA chase

The 76ers had all the cap space in the world to make George an offer he couldn’t refuse after being left with only Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and Paul Reed as core players on their payroll. George now forms a big three with the aforementioned All-Stars Embiid and Maxey in Philadelphia, which puts more of an onus on the Knicks to get their roster all the way straight before the commencement of the next season.

Los Angeles Clipper forward Paul George (13) dribbles the ball against New York Knicks shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden

New York was listed as a potential suitor for the Fresno State product, but a deal never came to fruition. George could have given a reshaped Knicks roster an elite scoring forward capable of playing three positions, from shooting guard to power forward. George put up 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and his lowest turnovers at 2.1 TO per game since 2014-15 last season, not to mention his elite 41.3 percent clip from three-point range.

New York will now have to game plan for George in Philadelphia

The A-grade two-way star would’ve also been a potential No. 1 option for New York. He likely would’ve cost the Knicks All-Star Julius Randle and a hoard of assets in a sign and trade to acquire, but what’s done is done. The Knicks will now have to look closely over their shoulder for the Sixers, whose new big three combined for a staggering 83.2 PPG in the previous campaign.

New York (50-32) was able to edge out Philadelphia (47-35) in the standings in 2023-24, but next season will present new challenges for the Atlantic division foes, especially if Embiid stays healthy for the majority of the season. The path to the NBA Finals will likely go through the Atlantic division. Therefore, the battle in the standings between both franchise and last year’s division and NBA champion Boston Celtics will be one of the most crucial storylines of 2024-25’s playoff chase, especially with Philadelphia rounding out their roster by resigning Kelly Oubre Jr. and adding sharpshooting scorer Eric Gordon and all-time great rebounder Andre Drummond in recent days.

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