It’s no secret that the New York Knicks were in talks with the Clippers to acquire eight-time All-Star Paul George. However, those talks were reportedly shut off recently due to Los Angeles’ asking price and George’s desire to sign an extension.
George has two seasons left on his current deal, but he has a $48.8 million player option in 2024-25 that he could decline to become a free agent next summer. He’s eligible to sign a four-year extension worth up to $220 million, which is a lot for a player that has struggled with a series of injuries over the past few years. Since being traded to the Clippers in 2019, George hasn’t played in more than 56 games in a regular season.
New York was seriously considering trading for George but at the right price. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Knicks were “considering a package featuring Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, and three first-round picks” at the time of the NBA draft. It was rumored that Toppin could be traded leading up to or during the draft, so that checks out.
Now, the possibility of that specific deal happening has gone out the window as New York agreed to trade Toppin to Indiana this past weekend.
Knicks considered trading Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier to Clippers for Paul George
It’s been assumed that if the Knicks were to trade for Paul George, RJ Barrett would be included in the package. Scotto wrote that Barrett’s name was “brought up briefly” in trade talks after New York traded Toppin, but that trading Barrett, Grimes, and three first-round picks along with paying George was “too high” for the Knicks.
Stepping away from that deal (at least for now) was a smart decision by Leon Rose and Co. Between George’s availability and his desire to sign an extension, New York has to proceed carefully. If the Knicks would’ve completed the deal above that included Barrett, New York would’ve been down two young players and three first-round picks for a star that could spend an extended amount of time sidelined.
Perhaps the Knicks and Clippers will fire back up the Paul George trade talks sometime this offseason, but only if Los Angeles is willing to come down on its asking price.