The Indiana Pacers have traded forward Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, as first reported by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The Thunder are the surprise winning bidder in the George sweepstakes, moving stealthily to acquire the All-Star forward ahead of free agency opening at midnight July 1. Shelburne reports Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis will go to the Pacers in the trade.
George informed the Pacers in mid-June that he intended to opt out of his contract next summer and become an unrestricted free agent. His preference is reportedly the Los Angeles Lakers, his hometown team. It’s unclear whether he will stay with the Thunder for more than the season remaining on his deal, but with Russell Westbrook present, OKC will make a case for him to stay.
The Pacers chose not to deal George ahead of the NBA draft, and explored trade talks with the Celtics, Lakers and Rockets all linked.
George, a four-time NBA All-Star, averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season. He averaged 28 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.8 steals in the playoffs.