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NBA Rumors: ‘Real Chance’ All-Star Signs With East Contender

Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey and Los Angeles Clippers wing Paul George at All-Star Game

Perhaps the Philadelphia 76ers are being overly optimistic.

After all, multiple reports have indicated that the nine-time All-Star would like to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers. However, “the Sixers think there’s a real chance they end up with Paul George,” per The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

“From my understanding,” O’Connor says on The Bill Simmons Podcast, “talking with people around the league, they think there’s a real chance he ends up leaving (the Clippers). No guarantees, but there’s a chance of it.”

‘Real Chance’ Paul George Signs With Sixers

George and the Clippers have been in a protracted contract dispute with the California native’s contract set to expire in 2025. After signing a four-year maximum contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018, he reached his initial contract extension with the Clippers in Dec. 2020. However, the situation is a bit different this time around.

In 2020, L.A. was coming off of a season in which they won 68.1 percent of their games. For reference, the Minnesota Timberwolves (56-26) won 68.3 percent of their games this season on their way to being a No. 3 seed in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. Though the Clippers did manage to clinch a No. 4 seed, they struggled in the back half of the season. After the All-Star Break, L.A. went 15-14, averaging 110.8 points per game. To compare, the Brooklyn Nets (32-50), averaged 110.4 points per game in 2023-24 (25th in the NBA).

With the Clippers then being defeated by the Dallas Mavericks in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs, it wasn’t a very strong ending to the season. Of course, overcoming the absence of Kawhi Leonard was a tall task. To that point, Leonard only played in two of the six games that series. When he did play, he wasn’t healthy, limited by a knee injury.

However, George’s subpar performance was another major factor. In six games, the swingman averaged 19.5 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting from the field. ‘Playoff P’ was back again indeed.

With Clippers owner Steve Ballmer watching these games fanatically, that’s problematic for George. While he may not be in the war room during contract negotiations, he’s the one cutting the check. It’s hard to pay top dollar for someone who isn’t living up to his billing as a top player.

Why the Sixers Want Paul George

If George is playing below expectations, particularly in the playoffs, people might wonder why the Sixers are so keen on adding George.

That being said, Philadelphia doesn’t need George to be their No. 1A or No. 2 option. They need the streaky star to be who he naturally is; the third option on a championship team. Skilled, experienced, and versatile, George still has a rare scoring ability. He just wilts under pressure more than he rises to the occasion, meaning the team that employs him needs to have more reliable go-to scorers.

With Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers have that.

In 2023-24, the All-Star duo combined for 60.6 points per game. Embiid has averaged at least 30 points per game over the past three seasons. Though he’s also struggled with his efficiency in the playoffs, this is because he’s too keen to shine on that stage. A Kobe Bryant disciple, Embiid tries to shoulder too heavy a burden, usually attempting a tough shot instead of letting his teammates help him.

If Maxey and George are beside him, Embiid should have more faith in his supporting cast. This will help him perform better, just as he and Maxey’s ability to lead the team in scoring should help George play better. With less pressure and defensive attention on everyone, their Big 3 has the potential to have their best postseason yet, whether from an individual or  team perspective.


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