The pros and cons of the 76ers trading for Paul George this offseason

What could the 76ers possibly get by trading for Paul George this season?
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game One
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game One / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

With the 76ers getting a little bit of a head start into “off-season mode,” rumors are circulating as to what they may do to bolster and retool their team ahead of the 2024-25 season. Perhaps the biggest star linked to the 76ers is Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George.

George has been eligible to sign an extension with the Clippers, but has not yet done so. With free agency set to open on June 30th, if George does not sign a new deal by then, he would become an unrestricted free agent as he is expected to decline his player option for the 2024-25 season. 

If you ask fans in Philly, there seem to be two factions of people when it comes to the possibility of their team acquiring Paul George. There is one side that remains a proponent of teaming up Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey with a third star in George. The other side focuses more on the Sixers' need to find better role players that will fit alongside Embiid and Maxey. While it may be difficult to determine the correct answer, there are both pros and cons to the prospect of George in a Sixer uniform. 

Why the 76ers should sign Paul George

1. Paul George fills an immediate need that the Sixers have

Philadelphia's lack of production from their supporting cast (alongside Embiid and Maxey) is one of the major reasons why they failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs. Upcoming free agent, Tobias Harris struggled mightily for the majority of the series with the Knicks, averaging just 9 points per game through the 6 matchups, including his being held scoreless in game 6. Paul George, simply put, is a better and more consistent scoring option than Tobias Harris. George takes and makes more threes than Harris, another need the 76ers have alongside Joel Embiid. Despite scoring just 7 points in game 3, George averaged 19.5 points per game over 6 games in the Clippers opening-round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks. 

Hypothetically, if Paul George were a member of the 76ers for their first-round matchup with the New York Knicks, (and Tobias Harris was not) they may have just moved on to round two. 

2. Paul George can provide stability in the regular season

While George certainly has injury concerns of his own, he can assist in providing consistent scoring that the 76ers desperately need. Joel Embiid will miss games in the 2024-25 season. When he missed just over 2 months in the middle of the 2023-24 season, the team plummeted in the Eastern Conference Standings. Acquiring depth and role players can only take you so far without Joel Embiid on the floor. The 34-year-old, George is still a star and can help the team collect wins even with Joel Embiid off the floor. Paul George played in 74 regular season games for the Clippers this past season. 

Why the 76ers should NOT sign Paul George

1. That’s a lot of money

Signing a 34-year-old to a max contract in the NBA is a bit of a risk. Throw in some of the injury concerns and struggling playoff narrative that surrounds George, there are plenty who are uncomfortable with signing George to a deal of such magnitude. While Philadelphia does have a lot of cap space to work with this off-season, signing someone like George shrinks the list of other potential targets you’d like to bring in. This is why many are in the camp of getting creative to retool a roster that best compliments the star duo of Embiid and Maxey rather than acquiring another star.

2. What happens when it doesn’t work? 

There are no guarantees in the NBA. Paul George is no exception to this truth. Should the 76ers acquire Paul George, who is to say it would get the team to an NBA Championship or even a Conference Finals appearance? With that being said, those who rest in the camp of acquiring depth at a lower cost would tell you that the risk of acquiring George is far greater. If George signed and played out his contract with the franchise and Philadelphia doesn’t get any further in the playoffs than they have, the Joel Embiid era could very well be over by that point. 

As much as 76ers fans may not want to hear it, retooling year after year with other less-expensive, less-risky players, may be in the best interest of the team. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey may very well be all the star power that the team needs. Should it not go the way they plan in 2025, the franchise can retool and hope they have found the right pieces for the following season. However, should it not work with Paul George, you are very limited in what you can do to move forward. 

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