No Paul George for Thunder tonight vs Suns

At 9 p.m. tonight, the OKC Thunder face the Suns in Phoenix. But they’ll be doing so without not just one of their best players, but one of the league’s best players so far this season. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

For the first time this season, the Thunder will be without Paul George.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan announced Friday morning that George would miss tonight’s game against the Suns with a right quad contusion. Donovan was uncertain of when George sustained the injury, but said it was an ailment George has been playing with for some time.

George is having a fantastic season, and was especially excellent in December games.

The Suns have one of the league’s worst records, but Devin Booker recently returned from injury and during almost all games played in his return the team has looked far better. Phoenix has won five of their last seven games.

Thunder re-sign Paul George

The Thunder on Friday re-signed forward Paul George to a multi-year contract.

“Paul’s commitment to Oklahoma City is a moment that Thunder fans will long remember and greatly value in our franchise’s history,” said Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett. “We deeply appreciate his dedication, genuine sincerity and drive to contribute to the Thunder and our community. We are so happy he and his family will remain a part of the Thunder organization and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of Thunder basketball.”

The five-time NBA All-Star averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.04 steals (second in NBA) during the 2017-18 season. George also averaged 4.0 deflections per game and recovered 2.7 loose balls per game, which ranked tied for third and fourth in the league, respectively. George holds a 101.59 career defensive rating which ranks fourth among all active players.

“Paul George exemplifies the traits on and off the floor that the Thunder values to the highest degree, and we are thrilled that he will continue on with our organization,” said Presti. “Paul, his family and his representation were open and collaborative throughout the season and into his free agency. It is this approach that allowed for a great partnership to be built through all reaches of the organization and community. We look forward to building our future and creating our path forward with Paul.”

George became one of five players in the past 30 years to average 20+ points on better than 40 percent three-point shooting to go along with 2+ steals this past season (Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hersey Hawkins and Stephen Curry). George also made a career-best 244 three-point field goals, second-most in the league this past season.

Originally selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Palmdale, Calif. native was named to the 2017-18 All-NBA Third Team, which represented the fourth career All-NBA selection for George.

During the 2016 U.S. Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, George won a gold medal playing for the US National Team where he appeared in all eight games (two starts) and averaged 11.3 points (fourth on the team), 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.50 steals as the United States went a perfect 8-0 during Olympic competition.

Sixers reportedly interested in Paul George

It’s about to be on. Free agent mania. Great players needing new homes, and perhaps going in that route, or sticking with their current squad. Endless speculation. As for Paul George, here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting that the Sixers wouldn’t mind adding him alongside Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and friends:

ESPN is reporting that Paul George told the Oklahoma City Thunder he will opt out his $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season. The small forward has until 11:59 p.m. Friday to formerly decline the final year of his contract.

The Sixers are interested in pursuing the five-time NBA all-star to play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, according to sources.

His opting out doesn’t mean that George ruled out playing for the Thunder. He’s considering a return to Oklahoma City as a free agent, according to reports. He would be eligible to make more money under that scenario.

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Paul George will reportedly opt out of Thunder contract

The Thunder weren’t an impressive team last season. Carmelo Anthony will stick around, because other teams wouldn’t offer the type of money he’ll make from OKC in 2018-19. But Paul George has options. And remember, just because George will reportedly opt out of his Thunder deal doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll leave the team. He could re-sign, for a huge new contract. Or take his talent elsewhere. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George has informed franchise officials that he will not be opting in for the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told ESPN.

George has an 11:59 p.m. ET Friday deadline to formally decline to opt in.

George, who will decline a $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season, remains seriously interested in returning to the Thunder in free agency, league sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers will receive serious consideration too, sources said.

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Paul George undergoes knee surgery

OKC Thunder forward Paul George underwent a left knee scope today, the team says.

George will likely be out of action six to eight weeks before returning to normal offseason activities.

In 79 games (all starts) this past NBA season, George had averages of 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.04 steals in 36.6 minutes per game. A five-time NBA All-Star, George hit a career-best 244 three-point field goals during the 2017-18 season, and became one of just five players (Larry Bird, Hersey Hawkins, Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry the others) in the past 30 years to average 20+ points on better than 40.0 percent three-point shooting to go along with 2+ steals.

Pacers trade Paul George to Thunder

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.”

Paul George suffers horrible leg injury

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on a very nasty Paul George injury from Friday:

Paul George suffers horrible leg injury

Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered a gruesome lower right leg injury during the U.S. national team’s intrasquad scrimmage at UNLV and underwent surgery late Friday night.

The Indianapolis Star reported George suffered a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula, had a pin placed in his leg and is expected to remain hospitalized for two to three days. A USA Basketball spokesman who confirmed George was in surgery said the organization would not have any other information until the operation was complete and officials spoke with the doctor. Dr. Riley Williams, a Team USA orthopedist who also works with the Brooklyn Nets, was with George.

George’s leg landed and then buckled at the base of the basket stanchion after he fouled James Harden on a drive to the basket just 27 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Nearby teammates immediately reacted, with Harden doubling over as George recoiled on the baseline.

Medics, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski and members of George’s family who were at the game rushed to his side.

His right leg was put in an air cast, and he was taken to a Las Vegas hospital after being treated for about 15 minutes on the court. His family members accompanied him there.

Paul George working on post-up moves

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on Paul George:

Paul George working on post-up moves

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George says he plans on adding a more physical dimension to his play next season.

“I plan on being a lot more physical this year,” George said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “I really plan [on] taking contact and wanting to get contact and finishing through contact. That’s the next step for me.”

The All-Star forward averaged a career-high 21.7 points per game last season but he posted up just 5 percent of the time, ranked 74th out of 74 NBA forwards with at least 50 plays, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

George told the Star that he has worked a lot on his post-up game this offseason.