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What Position is Paul George? Warriors Eyeing Star Forward in Potential Blockbuster Deal

One of the most intriguing storylines centers around Paul George and his future with the Los Angeles Clippers. George, a nine-time NBA All-Star, is at a crossroads with his current team regarding his contract extension. With the Clippers only offering a three-year extension slightly less than the max contract, George is seeking a four-year max deal, creating a potential rift that could lead to his departure.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Golden State Warriors are one of the teams reportedly willing to offer George the full max contract he desires. Windhorst mentioned on “Get Up” that the Warriors are “big-fish hunting” and are seriously considering bringing George on board. This aligns with reports from other insiders like Marc Stein, who indicated that the Warriors are keeping a close eye on George, especially with Klay Thompson’s future with the team uncertain.

“He wants a full-out max. And there are a number of teams out there, I am told, that are prepared to give it to him, or are prepared to trade for him,” Windhorst said. “One of those teams potentially is up the coast in Golden State. Golden State is big-fish hunting. Remember, last trade deadline, they put a call in about LeBron James. They are sniffing around big deals.”

The Clippers’ stance has been firm, offering George a three-year extension that would align with the $150 million commitment they have made to Kawhi Leonard. However, George, at 34, seeks a four-year deal to secure his future, given his recent performance and status as one of the league’s best two-way players. Last season, George played 74 games, the most since leaving Oklahoma City, and averaged 22.6 points with a career-high 41.3% from three-point range.

The tension between George and the Clippers has been building for months, with reports indicating that the contract negotiations have been “fruitless.” With George’s player option deadline approaching, there is a growing sense that he might exercise his $48.8 million option for next season, forcing the Clippers into a trade situation.

This scenario puts the Warriors in a prime position. With their aggressive exploration of trade options and the possibility of parting ways with veteran point guard Chris Paul, Golden State could make a significant move to acquire George. This potential acquisition would not only bolster their roster but also signal their intent to remain competitive in the stacked Western Conference.

Windhorst noted the potential complications in such a deal, emphasizing that any move would need to be worked out with the Clippers, who might be calling George’s bluff about leaving his hometown of Los Angeles.

“Any of these places that Paul would need to go via trade would have to get worked out with the Clippers,” Windhorst said. “The Clippers are in a position where they kind of want to call Paul’s bluff that he would actually want to leave his hometown of LA.”

The Clippers, meanwhile, face significant decisions with other players, including Kawhi Leonard and free-agent-to-be James Harden. Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, has expressed a desire to retain George, recognizing his value to the team.

“We want Paul, we value Paul,” Frank said during the team’s exit interviews in May. “Paul’s done some tremendous things here. He’s an elite player, and our biggest thing is we always… want to build with elite players.”

The upcoming free agency period will be crucial, with teams like the New York Knicks also rumored to be interested in George. As the market for small forwards shapes up, George stands out as a marquee player, potentially leading to one of the biggest moves of the offseason.

Paul George’s situation highlights the complexities and high stakes of NBA contract negotiations. Whether he stays in Los Angeles or moves to a team like the Warriors, his decision will have significant implications for the league’s balance of power. As the deadline approaches, all eyes will be on George and the Clippers to see how this high-stakes game of contract poker plays out.

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