Former Los Angeles Clippers guard and Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams said that his teammates were “heartbroken” and crushed that the team traded guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for wing Paul George.
Lou Williams on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander:
“We were heartbroken when he got traded. Absolutely, we were crushed. Even though it was for Paul George. We knew who PG was, but he had time and energy into his development.”
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) October 23, 2023
Back in the summer of 2019, the Clippers traded Gilgeous-Alexander along with Danilo Gallinari, five first-round picks and two first-round pick swaps in exchange for George.
Fast forward to present day and the Thunder seemingly stand out as the clear winner of that trade. Gilgeous-Alexander is arguably a better player than George is right now at just 25 years old. He averaged 31.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 51.0 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc in 68 games with the Thunder during the 2022-23 regular season.
Plus, George has really struggled to stay healthy during his time playing for the Clippers. He has played in more than 55 games in a season with the team just once across his four seasons and counting with the Clippers. During the 2022-23 regular season, he logged 56 appearances, the most of his Clippers career.
The 33-year-old averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game with the Clippers last season and was named an All-Star for the eighth time in his NBA career.
George sat out the entirety of Los Angeles’ first-round series against the Phoenix Suns in the 2023 playoffs. Without George, the Clippers won Game 1 of that series behind a masterful 38-point performance from star wing Kawhi Leonard.
But the Clippers then went on to lose the next four games in a row. Kevin Durant and the Suns’ playoff run came to an end soon after, though, seeing as how they lost to the Denver Nuggets in six games in round two of the playoffs.
The Clippers’ trade for George hasn’t aged well thus far. But the Clippers have a chance to be one of the better teams in the Western Conference during the 2023-24 regular season, so long as George and Leonard can stay healthy.