One small detail could prevent Paul George from returning to Clippers

According to sources, there is one seemingly small holdup that could ultimately lead to George's departure.
Paul George, LA Clippers
Paul George, LA Clippers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

Paul George and his free agency decision will have more bearing on the LA Clippers' offseason than any other individual player. The 14-year veteran has a player option for next season on his contract, and he could choose to return to play alongside Kawhi Leonard for one more season.

But at this point, signs seem to continue to point to the possibility that George has already played his last game in a Clipper uniform. Between the rumors of multiple other contenders showing interest in him as well as the details regarding how he may plan to execute a trade, it would be more surprising if George returned to Los Angeles given all the information we now have.

According to a recent article from NBA reporter Marc Stein (subscription required), one team described Paul George as "the domino who will make it all go when he falls." Essentially meaning, PG's free agency decision will open up the floodgates for all kinds of moves around the league to be made.

George wants to return to the Clippers, but a problem persists

In his report, Stein also mentioned that he has discussed with multiple sources around the league, and he says that "more sources than not we've consulted believe George's preference, as a proud Southern California native, continues to be re-signing with the Clippers." The problem, he explains, lies in the contract negotiations between the front office and PG.

Stein explains that the biggest reason George's future in Los Angeles is currently in question lies in the Clippers' hesitancy to grant Paul as long or big of a contract as they gave to Kawhi earlier this year. For reference, Leonard's deal was for three years and $152.4 million.

Clearly, the team's priority was getting Kawhi back in town, which they accomplished before the end of this past season. Re-signing George appears to have been more of a secondary task on the to-do list, and frankly, it appears the Clippers have been prioritizing correctly.

Leonard has of course had his share of injury problems, but so has George. The bottom line is that Kawhi is a better player at his absolute best, so in a scenario where the Clippers had to choose one or the other, it would seem they chose correctly. PG has worn the Clipper jersey with pride over the last five years, but it seems the 213 era could be over in LA very soon.