Acquiring Paul Georgie helped convince Kawhi Leonard to sign with the Clippers.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded All-Star guard Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday night.
According to Wojnarowski, the Clippers are sending a record-setting collection of draft choices in exchange for George. The Thunder will receive four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps in addition to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari.
The trade helped the Clippers sign free agent Kawhi Leonard, who had been recruiting George to Los Angeles. George approached the Thunder following Leonard's push and requested a trade from the team. Oklahoma City was reportedly "left with no choice" but to deal him for a large number of picks.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, rival NBA teams have been aware of the discontent between George and Thunder All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, which prompted the Clippers to push for a trade.
George thanked the Thunder and its fanbase for his time with the organization in an Instagram post on Saturday.
"Thank you Oklahoma for 2 great years, you took me in as one of your own from the day I touched down. Thank you to the fans who make representing those 3 letters mean something," he said. "I truly enjoyed the race from start to finish."
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Thank you Oklahoma for 2 great years, you took me in as one of your own from the day I touched down. Thank you to the fans who make representing those 3 letters mean something. Thank you to Sam and Clay for being the best management a franchise and player could ask for. Thank you to the friends within the organization that took care of my family and I whenever we needed help. The picture shown is a bond that can’t be broken I truly loved and enjoyed the race from start to finish. Thank you OKLAHOMA! You already know what it is @russwest44! Love brodie!
George's departure from Oklahoma City comes one year after he signed a four-year, $137 million deal with the Thunder. The two-way star was an MVP candidate this past season, and averaged 28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.