HORNING: Can Thunder trust in George?

AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, left, looks to pass the ball around Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Portland, Ore.

What had been reported is now done, confirmed by both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers.

The first two sentences of a press release delivered by the Thunder a few minutes after noon Wednesday reads as follows:

“The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari, three Los Angeles Clippers’ first-round draft picks (2022, 2024 and 2026), two first-round picks via the Miami Heat (2021 and 2023) and the right to swap first-round picks in 2023 and 2025 with the Clippers in exchange for forward Paul George, it was announced today by Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. 

“As part of this transaction, the Thunder creates a $10.4 million trade exception.”

Additionally, the release included direct quotes from Presti addressing the past few days, as well as OKC’s future.

“From the time that Paul and his representation made us aware of what had been transpiring and their subsequent request, our focus as an organization was identifying the best paths for our future,” he said. “Resiliency has been a staple of our city and our franchise, and this challenge provided us with another opportunity to demonstrate that. Our goal with this transaction was to create value both in the short and long term and help reposition and replenish the organization's future platform. 

“We are thrilled to welcome two extremely talented and efficient players in Shai and Danilo. Moving forward, we will continue to utilize the method that has helped us create the foundation for the last 11 seasons of Thunder basketball.”

Presti also took the opportunity to assert Oklahoma City’s fan base should recall George “fondly.”

“The Thunder thanks Paul for his contributions to the organization and our community. We are proud that Paul is a part of our history as an organization and that some of the best basketball of his career was in Oklahoma City,” he said. “He should be remembered fondly. We wish him and his family the best.”

Gigeious-Alexander, a 6-foot-6 point guard, started 73 games for the Clippers last season, and was an NBA all-rookie second-team selection after being the 11th pick in the 2018 draft after averaging 10.8 points, 3.3 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 1.17 steals and 26.5 minutes. He averaged 13.7 points in the playoffs.

Gallinari, a 6-10 forward, brings 10-season carer averages of 15.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2 steals, though he’s coming off one of the best seasons of his career, one in which he averaged 19.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 30.3 minutes over 68 games.

In a release issued earlier Wednesday, the Thunder also confirmed the signing of free agent Mike Muscala, who played 64 games last season between the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. Muscala, a 6-11, forward/center averaged 7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists over 20.4 minutes between the two teams.

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