Pacers trade Paul George to Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired forward Paul George from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today.

George, (6-9, 220), averaged a career-high 23.7 points on a career-best 46.1 percent (622-of-1348 FG) shooting from the field and 39.3 percent (195-of-496 3FG) from long distance, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.59 steals and 35.9 minutes in 75 games (all starts) with Indiana during the 2016-17 season.

“We are excited to welcome Paul George to the Thunder family and the Oklahoma City community,” said Presti. “Paul is a tremendous fit for our organization on and off the floor. He represents all the positive traits of an elite competitor, and we have long admired his relentless pursuit to improve and his ability to impact on-court success. His skill set is dynamic and at the forefront of the evolution of the game, yet he combines this with traditional and historical values and will. We are fortunate to have an incredibly unique player wear the Thunder Blue and know he will help us as we continue to build the legacy of the Thunder in real time.”

The four-time All-Star owns career averages of 18.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.65 steals and 32.8 minutes in 448 games (400 starts) over seven seasons with the Pacers. He was the winner of the 2012-13 Most Improved Player Award, has earned All-NBA Third Team honors three times and has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team once and All-Defensive Second Team twice.

Selected 10th overall by Indiana in the 2010 NBA Draft, George guided the Pacers to the playoffs in each of the six seasons in which he appeared in 60 or more games and he helped lead Indiana to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals in 2012-13 and 2013-14. George owns career playoff averages of 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.72 steals in 43.0 minutes in 65 games (all starts).

The Fresno State product was a member of the 2016 U.S. Men’s National Team which took Gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. He appeared in all eight games (two starts) and averaged 11.3 points (fourth on team), 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.50 steals (first on team).

“We feel very strongly about the potential Victor and Domantas bring to our team and what they mean for the future of the franchise,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. “Both are highly competitive, highly skilled and both are winners. That is why both were lottery picks, that is why we sought them out to be part of this deal.”

Victor Oladipo was drafted by the Orlando Magic as the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. As a rookie with the Magic, he was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie First Team and was twice named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month (December and February). He played three seasons with the Magic before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in June 2016. In his four seasons in the NBA, the 6-4, 210-pound guard has career averages of 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Oladipo played collegiately at Indiana University for three years with averages of 10.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

Domantas Sabonis was drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, also by the Orlando Magic, before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder later that evening as part of the same trade that sent Oladipo to the Thunder. As a rookie with the Thunder, Sabonis played in 81 games (66 starts) and averaged 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. He played collegiately at Gonzaga for two years with averages of 13.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

“As for the trade, it was difficult both on a personal and professional level,” said Pritchard. “Everyone here knows what Paul meant to this franchise; he was both a tremendous human being as well as player here for seven years. We thank Paul and his family for their contributions to the Pacers and wish him well.”