Sixers signing free agent Paul George could actually play in Knicks' favor

New York Knicks
New York Knicks / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The New York Knicks ruined the Sixers' backup Paul George plan by re-signing OG Anunoby before the official start of free agency, but it turns out Philadelphia didn't need a backup.

On June 20, Shams Charania tweeted that the Sixers' interest in PG13 had "significantly waned." It turns out that wasn't the truth. Entering free agency, Philadelphia was labeled as the favorite to sign George after he declined his 2024-25 option. Joel Embiid's cryptic tweet that might've been about soccer turned out to be a sign of what was to come.

The Sixers got their guy. It took until the middle of the night before Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Paul George signed a massive four-year $212 million contract.

Sixers sign Paul George to a massive contract

George has long been linked to the Knicks. Leon Rose represented PG13 before he became New York's president in 2020. The Knicks discussed trading for George last summer, but nothing serious emerged from the talks. Six months later, they landed another wing via a trade with the Raptors.

It initially seemed as if PG13 and the Clippers would agree to an extension before he had to decide on his player option for 2024-25, but that never happened. Los Angeles put out a statement about losing George before he officially signed with Philadelphia. He wanted a fourth year, and the Clippers wouldn't budge.

The Sixers wanted another big-name star to pair alongside Joel Embiid. He's won an MVP, but hasn't played in the Eastern Conference Finals. If it were five years ago, signing George might've been what pushed Philadelphia over the hump. In reality, the Embiid-George duo could quickly go up in flames. Both have extensive injury histories, and PG13 turned 34 at the beginning of May. He's on the downside of his career.

Because of Embiid, the Sixers were in slight desperation mode. He could sign a three-year extension this summer, as his current contract runs through 2026-27 (a player option). He hasn't publicly put pressure on them, but that doesn't mean the front office isn't feeling it. Landing George helps take some of that pressure off (at least for now).

Only time will tell if the Sixers' PG13 push paid off, but the Knicks shouldn't be too worried. If healthy, Philadelphia will be one of New York's top threats in the East, but that's a big if. LA didn't have the success it envisioned with George and Kawhi Leonard, two injury-prone stars. Who's to say the Sixers will?

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