NBA Rumors: LA Clippers' Paul George's latest intriguing landing spot

The summer of Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers is just getting started. 
Los Angeles Clippers v New York Knicks
Los Angeles Clippers v New York Knicks / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Despite the nine potential free agents the Los Angeles Clippers have to decide on this offseason, only one has dominated the headlines. Paul George feels like the pivotal NBA domino. His landing spot will drastically impact the league's landscape and provide a glimpse into the future of a franchise desperate for a new identity. 

An extension to stay with the club was a top priority, corroborated by President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank's comments during his exit interview. With Kawhi Leonard getting locked up in January, it's starting to feel like George is the odd man out. It's prompted rabid fans and analysts to pitch their ideas for the nine-time All-Star's next destination. 

The Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic were the initial favorites if he left Tinseltown, but their round-one exits can't be intriguing to the 34-year-old seeking his first championship. Few established teams have sufficient cap space, so a trade seems increasingly likely. 

The New York Knicks are coming off a devastating seven-game second-round series. Regardless of how many injuries they had to navigate, it was clear they were a guy short. Bleacher Report's Dan Favale thinks George could be that missing piece. 

"New York's roster at full strength is deeper than that of Philadelphia, which needs to gut its own ranks to sign or trade for George (player option)," said Fivale. "George has leverage over the Clippers, since he can threaten to leave for nothing if they don't facilitate his relocation to a preferred destination. New York could feasibly exit this scenario, sending out Randle, Bogdanović, and maybe a pick or two. Randle has made strides to become more plug and play, but George's offense is even more complementary and he keeps more in theme with the hyper-versatile lineups head coach Tom Thibodeau is currently leaning on."

Here is the mock trade Favale proposed:

Fivale Mock Trade

The Clippers should only replace Paul George with a consistent star

Favale's proposal hinges on Julius Randle, whose accolades don't depict his abilities on the court. The 10th-year forward has shined in the Big Apple, making a pair of All-NBA teams and helping to revive one of the biggest brands in the sport. He's a gifted scorer who does most of his damage near the low block. 

The problem is that Randle is one of the worst playoff fallers in modern history. In his 15 postseason games, he's shooting 34% from the field while having more turnovers than assists. Randle never seems to be aware that it's not going his way and spirals in dramatic fashion. This lack of intensity and consistent motor ruin his perception across the association. Even to the most loyal Knicks fans, he's expendable. That is a large enough red flag for an organization that hasn't made the conference finals in over two decades. 

If the Clipper's problem with George is an inability to rise to the occasion frequently, they can't replace him with someone worse in that area. The best return for George would be a top-end prospect who can be a pillar of the future or an established veteran looking for a fresh start. These 80 cents-on-the-dollar packages do not do the team any favors.