Analyst has Paul George departing Clippers for a young Eastern Conference team

Los Angeles Clippers v Orlando Magic
Los Angeles Clippers v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The Paris Olympics might be the only event to get more coverage than the Los Angeles Clippers' quest to retain Paul George this summer

The superstar is looking to cash in once more before he calls it a career, and he has all the leverage. With the Intuit Dome opening in the fall, it's no secret Steve Balmer wants a star-studded roster to accompany a world-class arena. Having George on the billboards and in the programs could drive attendance, but it'll come at a price that the franchise seems weary of matching. 

Management has allegedly offered the 34-year-old multiple extensions under the maximum. This makes sense in theory given George's advanced age and lengthy injury history. But the club has already set a precedent that those things don't matter in negotiations, considering the Clips locked Kawhi Leonard up this past January through 2027. Whether he re-signs or not, George will get his lucrative deal and won't be short of suitors. 

The Philadelphia 76ers are a popular pick to land the nine-time All-Star's services. They have plenty of cap space and need a third offensive weapon next to Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid. The latter's injury history could be a turnoff and would be a lateral move at best. Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey predicts George will go elsewhere, to a new role and environment, and join the upstart Orlando Magic. 

"George is one of the most portable stars in the league," Bailey said. "The window to contend in Orlando is just now opening. Along with Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, George would be a part of one of the most versatile, dynamic trios in the league. All three can create. Bookend those three with a solid defensive point guard and big (Jalen Suggs and Wendell Carter Jr. are both under contract next season), and you could be looking at a contender for the best defense in the NBA."

I can't imagine the Clippers let Paul George walk

Make no mistake—the Clippers are still in the driver's seat. George is from the greater LA area and can play his last few seasons close to home. There are still ways to tinker with the roster and try to salvage this situation. 

The Orlando Magic are on the rise and need another talented wing. Paolo Banchero is truly special, but the rest of the group has too many question marks. Jalen Suggs and Jonathan Isaac are lockdown defenders, but their shooting is unreliable. Franz Wagner looked like a vital cornerstone, but his three-point shot has deteriorated. This team is further away from contention than many realize.

Even if they make some moves to inject the franchise with more offense, the Magic will not be among the elite in the Eastern Conference, with George and Banchero carrying the load. The move does far more for the club than it does for George. 

It makes no sense for the Clippers to lose him for nothing. No matter what it takes to extend George, they should.