NBA insider’s ‘informed speculation’ is that Paul George will re-sign with Clippers

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 NBA regular season isn’t even over yet, but that will never stop the discussion about where the league’s stars will be playing next season and beyond.

For example, NBA insider Brian Windhorst is speculating that despite the sides being “apart,” Paul George will wind up staying with the Clippers after this season is complete.

“Now, they can’t sign [James] Harden to an extension during the season,” Windhorst said. “That’s not permitted by his style of contract. So that’s not a surprise nothing’s happened there. But it’s now been three months, give or take, and there’s been no agreement on Paul George and the word in the NBA is that they’re apart. It’s not like, ‘Let’s have a big problem.’ They’re apart.”

George reportedly has a $48.8 million player option for the 2024-25 NBA season but also will be eligible for a four-year contract extension with the Clippers worth up to $221.1 million. He cannot make that much money elsewhere on a deal of similar length.

“I think the league believes that Paul George wants to remain a Clipper, and there would be concern in the league about recruiting Paul George — especially if you had to give away players to open up space,” Windhorst said. “… My informed speculation is that, eventually, Paul will agree to a deal with the Clippers. It may not be for the full max, but it may be for more than what the Clippers have been offering.”

This past offseason, the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard to a three-year, $153 million contract that was less than the maximum dollar amount he could have received. That reportedly was done as part of an effort to keep him and George together.

Teammate Harden is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason as the two-year contract he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded earlier this season expires. The Clippers also will be moving into their own new arena next season.

George is not the only All-Star player whose future is being bandied about. Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell is a constant subject of rumors, but Cavs owner Dan Gilbert recently gave a confident update that their franchise player wants to stay with the team.

This season, George is averaging 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, among his lowest numbers in his five seasons with Los Angeles. But the 33-year-old has appeared in 66 games, easily his most during that time period.

After stumbling out of the gate, the Clippers took off and looked to be legitimate contenders for the NBA championship earlier this season. But they have struggled a bit lately, losing six of their past 10 games and sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. They are just 2.5 games ahead of seventh place with 10 games left to play.

Playing the 54th season in franchise history, they remain in pursuit of their first NBA championship. If they can’t finally win it this year, it would be very helpful for them to know that George will be around for another try next season and beyond.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.