5 Biggest threats to steal Paul George from Clippers in free agency

These teams have the most potential to sign PG-13 away from LA this offseason.
Paul George, LA Clippers
Paul George, LA Clippers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages
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Another disappointing season for the LA Clippers has come to an end, and this one had a particularly harsh sting to it. After going through the year with their two franchise cornerstones in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard finally healthy for the majority of the season, injury troubles struck yet again and the Clippers were forced to play without Kawhi for four out of six games in the playoffs.

Now, there is much uncertainty surrounding the future in LA as the offseason arrives. The Clippers officially inked Leonard to a contract extension back in January that will keep him with the team through the 2026-27 season. But as for Paul George, there is no guarantee he will remain a Clipper past this summer.

The star wing will have a player option on his contract for next season, where he can earn a $48.7 million base salary. George can choose to pick up the option or decline it, in which case he would seek an entirely new deal. Of course, opting in would mean that he will agree to play out the final year of his current deal. But at the same time, it does not necessarily mean that he would be playing all of next season with the Clippers.

If George intends to ultimately land elsewhere, he could opt in to his player option with the intent of forcing a mid-season trade to his preferred destination next year. The reasoning behind this move is that Paul and the organization would both, in theory, get a better chance of obtaining what they want.

1. Orlando Magic

Operating behind the leverage of being able to leave for nothing in the offseason, George could instead opt into his final year to get the Clippers to conjure up a trade, making it possible for the team to get assets back and giving him a greater possibility of going where he wants. If he ends up going in that direction, one of the many teams that could be a threat to land Paul George is the Orlando Magic.

The up-and-coming Eastern Conference team just outdid their preseason win projection by 10 games, and they will of course be looking to level up even more. Playing in the weaker of the two conferences, Orlando has to know that making this kind of upgrade could give them a serious lift headed into next season.

If Paul George is comfortable taking something of a back seat to the talented Paolo Banchero, the two could form one of the top wing duos in the association. The Magic's defense would get significantly stronger, and they could become a top two or three seed in the East with George on the roster.