Paul George surprises Clippers fans with shocking free agency decision

The Paul George free agency news Clippers fans had been waiting for is finally here, but it is not the result we expected.
Paul George, LA Clippers
Paul George, LA Clippers / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The day LA Clippers fans have been anticipating for so long has finally come. Saturday was the deadline for Paul George decide whether he wanted to exercise his player option with the Clippers for next season, or choose to decline it and enter free agency.

For the last several days, reports had been coming out that suggested George's preference was to opt in to the final year of his contract before likely pursuing a trade elsewhere. Though utilizing this "opt in and trade" strategy, Paul would be able to play out the final year of his deal either with the Clippers or another team, and aim to hit free agency in 2025.

But on Saturday afternoon, news broke that George had declined his option and instead opted to enter free agency now. The announcement came as a major shock given everything we had heard up until this point.

Paul George declined his player option, ruling out any trades

In choosing free agency, Paul George has now guaranteed one of two outcomes for the Clippers from this situation: he will either agree to a new contract that keeps him in Los Angeles, or he will sign a deal elsewhere, in which case the Clippers would lose him for nothing.

The logic behind PG's choice here likely points to him desiring his payday now rather than a year from now, which is understandable. But what he has done is put the Clippers in an all-or-nothing scenario - they will either get him back (while giving him a hefty payday), or he will take his talents elsewhere while LA gains nothing in return.

The stage is now set for George's ultimate decision. We can likely expect to know if PG will be a Clipper next season or not within the next 48 hours.