League sources have confirmed that the Indiana Pacers have traded All-Star Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
Indiana was pressured into moving George, who informed the team that he would be opting out of his contract following the upcoming season and become a free agent.
Rumors are the Boston Celtics were stunned to hear of the trade as they were preparing to set up a trade with Indiana for George. They tried very hard last February to trade for George prior to the trade deadline only to see those efforts fail.
Oladipo will make $21 million over each of the upcoming four years with all of it guaranteed, while Sabonis is in his first season and on a rookie contract.
By trading for George, it appears the Thunder is not that concerned with losing the all-star when he becomes a free agent following the end of next season.
The club wants to show they are committed to league MVP Russell Westbrook, who is also eligible to opt out of his contract at the end of next year and who they are trying to convince to sign to a long term deal.
Even if the Thunder was to lose George after next season, they could start rebuilding with a large amount of money they can spend on free agents.
Westbrook told the team following the end of that season that he wanted the roster to improve so the team could continue with the best team in first the Western Conference and for the NBA title.
That apparently was delivered by the front office of the Thunder by trading for George or at least the team is much closer to delivering on that request by Westbrook.
The Thunder looks at this as their opportunity to reclaim their contender spot in the conference and give them the chance to continue their extended run of success.
The Thunder might not have what it needs to convince George to remain after next season, but at least the team will now be in the mix and have the opportunity to show him what he means to the organization.
Oklahoma City hopes the same does not happen to them next summer as did last summer, when they brought in Oladipo and then opened their first meeting with Kevin Durant saying they planned to sign Al Horford to make the team even more competitive.
It did not work as Durant left to sign with Golden State and the rest is history as they say.