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Paul George listed as dream offseason target for OKC Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder will enter the offseason in a better position than most to spend some serious money on outside free agents.

They will have $35 million in cap space to toy with fresh off a first-seed finish and a Round 2 exit in the 2024 NBA playoffs. In theory, OKC could be big-game hunters if it chooses to differentiate from its usual conservative approach.

Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey listed one realistic and dream offseason target for each team. The Thunder’s dream target included a reunion with a former multi-time All-Star wing.

In what would be a sick twist of fate, Bailey suggests the Thunder should target LA Clippers forward Paul George. The 34-year-old will likely decline his $48.8 million player option next season as he will command a strong market for one final massive payday.

There’s already been rumblings of a possible exit from LA for George. He might be too expensive of a player to sign for the Clippers, who had the second-highest payroll last season.

As most know, George was infamously part of the 2019 blockbuster trade that helped propel the Thunder to their current championship window. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was traded to OKC along with many future draft picks that have mostly yet to materialize.

The trade has already paid off as LA’s 2022 first-round pick landed OKC Jalen Williams. The 23-year-old looks to be a future All-Star wing who’ll enjoy his prime with the Thunder.

If the Thunder adds George, they’ll add a veteran wing that can slide right in with the rest of the starters. He’s shown signs of decline recently, but he’s still one of the best scorers in the league and can provide the Thunder with another go-to bucket and catch-and-shoot option.

Bailey wrote about the addition, stating he’d be a monster upgrade to pair Gilgeous-Alexander with another elite two-way wing.

“How wild would it be if the Thunder pulled off the heist that landed them Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for George (among lots of other assets), and then they picked him back up for those two to play together a few years later?

They don’t have enough cap space to sign him outright, but if George could be sold on returning to OKC, they could create it (or send L.A. enough salary to offset the difference).”

In 74 games last season, George averaged 22.6 points on 47.1% shooting, 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He shot 41.3% from 3 on 7.9 attempts. He’d make the Thunder an instant title contender.

On the flip side, George’s departure would doom the Clippers. This will help the Thunder’s draft picks gain value tenfold and could be used as valuable trade chips in future deals.

George could also benefit from being rejuvenated with the Thunder. The Clippers are a sinking ship with an old, expensive roster as Kawhi Leonard has struggled to stay healthy for most of his tenure.

It likely won’t happen as a George multi-year deal could cause serious ramifications on the long-term futures of Williams and Chet Holmgren, but there’s no denying it’d be a dream fit for the Thunder on the court.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire