Knicks send massive haul of assets in latest mock trade for Paul George

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

Trade rumors for Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George continue to heat up, with the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers among the teams that are heavily in the mix to potentially land him in a deal.

Knicks send massive haul of assets in Bleacher Reports’ latest mock trade for Paul George

Paul George, Knicks
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes proposed a mock trade between the Knicks and Clippers to make prior to the NBA Draft, which begins on Wednesday, but includes sending over several key assets in exchange for the star forward.

The trade from Hughes reads as follows:

Clippers get:

  • Bojan Bogdanovic
  • Julius Randle
  • Miles McBride
  • No. 24 pick in 2024 draft
  • No. 38 pick in 2024 draft
  • 2025 first-round pick (via MIL w/top-four protection)
  • 2026 first-round pick

Knicks get:

  • Paul George

That’s right, the Knicks would send a staggering four draft picks and three key rotational players all for one aging star player in this trade proposal. Accepting this type of deal would significantly hamper the Knicks’ depth, which could in turn lead to a shortened championship window with less margin for error.

There’s no denying George’s talent level, and the idea of playing him alongside Jalen Brunson is certainly an attractive component of prying him away from the Clippers.

Despite George’s talent level, several factors don’t make him the guy for the Knicks to get

Nov 6, 2023; New York, New York, USA;  New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson (11) drives the ball towards the basket against Los Angeles Clipper forward Paul George (13) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

However, a few factors make the idea of trading away most of the Knicks’ future less appealing, including George’s age (34) and his ongoing contract dispute with Los Angeles. NBA insider Marc Stein reported on his Substack Tuesday that George wants a four-year contract, but the Clippers are reluctant to offer him a deal with such a long-term commitment.

Therefore, there is the possibility that George opts into his $48.8 million player option and then requests a trade from the Clippers, similar to what his teammate James Harden did with the Philadelphia 76ers last offseason. However, if the Knicks were to take on George following such a scenario, they would have to negotiate a deal with him, and the Knicks still have to pay OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency and work out a long-term extension with Brunson.

In addition, giving an aging George a max contract will hard cap the Knicks’ financial flexibility. Part of the reason they are able to consistently be in the mix for marquee players is because of the fact that their star players are on very team-friendly deals, contracts that don’t reflect the level of play those players bring.

George has struggled with injuries over the past several seasons

Setting aside the financial situation, other logistics make trading several pieces away for George a very risky idea. His time with the Clippers has been largely defined by injuries and shortcomings. This past season, he played 74 games, the most since joining the team in 2019, but prior to that, he had not played in more than 56 games in a season with Los Angeles. On top of that, George’s numbers tend to drop in the playoffs, which is a big reason why they have only made the Western Conference Finals once during the George and Kawhi Leonard era.

This past postseason, the Clippers, who were missing Leonard for a large portion of the first round, didn’t get the George they were hoping would step up in Leonard’s absence. George averaged just 19.5 points per game and shot just 41% from the field as the Clippers were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

It is too soon for the Knicks to give up on Julius Randle

Jan 18, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball against Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The argument that some fans could try to make is that Julius Randle also struggles in the playoffs, but the situations he’s been in are vastly different than George’s. Randle didn’t get a chance to turn around his playoff struggles in 2024 as he missed the entire postseason after undergoing surgery for a shoulder dislocation he suffered in a late January game against the Miami Heat.

Prior to that, Randle, Brunson, and Anunoby seemed to be the perfect fits alongside each other which allowed each of them to play to their strengths. The trio was 11-1 in games they played together this past season, and Randle and Brunson each were named NBA All-Stars.

Giving up on a trio that showed tremendous promise before they could even see them play together for more than a month could be viewed as a rash decision to accelerate their championship odds when in reality the group the Knicks currently have can win a championship, they just were hit with unfortunate injury luck in 2024.

The Knicks will certainly be making calls to the Clippers’ front office regarding George’s availability, and rightfully so. However, if the price is too high, the Knicks should pump the brakes on their pursuit and focus more on running back the roster that proved to be a contender this past season.

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