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Indiana Pacers Eastern Central
Trade Details
The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired combo forward Paul George from the Indiana Pacers for swingman Victor Oladipo and power forward Domantas Sabonis.
What does it give the Oklahoma City Thunder?
This is an interesting and pretty risky move by Thunder GM Sam Presti. That's not to say there's much at all risky about George's talent or likely production--he's a dependable superstar--but it is to say Oklahoma City has much to lose here. While Oladipo and Sabonis aren't league elites, both were starters for last season's Thunder and George can leave via free agency after one season (so a year from now Presti might have little to show for this deal). Adding to the risk is that fellow Oklahoma City superstar, league MVP Russell Westbrook, can also leave after next season via free agency. George and Westbrook are both from California, so the two leaving together for the Lakers or Clippers isn't inconceivable. Presti is clearly hoping the duo can win in the coming season with the Thunder, and that a deep playoff run might encourage them to re-sign with OKC.
What does it give the Indiana Pacers?
The Pacers made a huge push in last year's off-season to rebuild their roster into a contender, but it didn't pan out as planned. While Indy was competitive, the changes weren't nearly enough to make for a lengthy stay in the postseason. With George and super-solid vet point guard Jeff Teague now gone (after Teague signed with Minnesota), Indiana faces a possible youth-focused rebuild. Rising star center Myles Turner is an excellent building block, but new arrivals Oladipo and Sabonis don't come close to making up for the loss of George (not to mention George and Teague). It's hard to like this deal for Indy, especially since the team didn't get any draft picks in the bargain. At least some salary money is saved.
Fantasy Impact
It's hard to see Westbrook's overall production going anywhere but down next season, but that was probably inevitable regardless of the trade (after he averaged a triple-double all season long). No longer the only clear go-to guy on this team, Westbrook will obviously yield a lot of shots to newcomer George (whose fantasy fortunes as well will likely suffer somewhat). That said, most of the other Thunder players will probably benefit fantasy-wise from having two superstars with them instead of one. As for the Pacers, much depends on which players join Indiana's roster over the rest of the off-season; that said, it's likely Turner will be even more productive than last season, when he was already on the cusp of the NBA's elite fantasy centers.
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