Paul George free agency: 76ers to pursue All-Star forward after he declines Clippers option, per report



Paul George is hitting free agency, and the Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly going to try to persuade him to leave his hometown Los Angeles Clippers. George, a native of Palmdale, California, declined his 2024-25 player option (worth nearly $49 million) shortly before the 5 p.m. ET deadline on Saturday, and, minutes later, Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported that the Sixers are a “legitimate threat” to sign him.

The nine-time All-Star is eligible to sign a four-year deal worth up to $221 million with the Clippers, but they have reportedly been unwilling to offer him more than three years of guaranteed salary. Other teams with the requisite cap space (i.e. ones that can accommodate a starting salary of $49 million), including Philadelphia, can offer him up to $212 million over four years.

The Sixers have long been a rumored eventual destination (albeit one whose interest in signing him reportedly waned earlier this month) for the 34-year-old forward because they are in an unusual position: Even though they have 2023 Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid signed to a maximum contract and are positioned to re-sign All-Star Tyrese Maxey to a (smaller) maximum contract this offseason, they can sign another star to a full max deal. (This is because, until Maxey, the No. 21 pick in the 2020 draft, actually signs his new deal, he will only account for $13 million — his “cap hold” — on their cap sheet.)

Philadelphia hasn’t had a wing like George since Jimmy Butler left town five years ago, and George may be a better fit because of his shooting. If it is going to assemble a “Big 3,” though, it will have to renounce a bunch of free agents and its front office will have to get creative with what little financial flexibility remains. To maintain some semblance of depth, team president Daryl Morey will need to use the $8 million room exception and minimum contracts wisely.

It remains unclear how serious George is about potentially leaving Los Angeles for the East Coast. If he were willing to accept Los Angeles’ terms, though, he would have signed an extension months ago, like Kawhi Leonard, his co-star for the last five seasons, did in January. At the time, Leonard said that he expected George — and James Harden, who is also about to hit free agency — to stay with the Clippers, too. Now, with George set to take meetings with multiple teams starting Sunday night, per ESPN, here’s the big question: Does George really see himself as the Sixers’ missing piece, or is he using them as leverage?





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