Report: Philadelphia 76ers are serious about pursuing Paul George

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers are serious about pursuing Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George if he hits the open market this coming offseason, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

George could opt out of his player option for the 2024-25 season (which is worth almost $49 million) to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2023-24 campaign.

“League sources say that Philadelphia continues to loom as an eager George suitor should he make it onto the open market and give the 76ers their formal opportunity to try to lure him across the country,” Stein wrote. “The Sixers are said to maintain interest in George despite the widely held presumption that he and [Kawhi] Leonard want to keep playing together in their native Southern California.”

It may be tough to lure George from Los Angeles since the Clippers already signed Leonard to a three-year extension. Still, the Sixers could offer George a chance to team up with All-Star guard Tyrese Maxey and reigning league MVP Joel Embiid in the 2024-25 season.

Philadelphia, which traded James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers around the beginning of the 2023-24 season, could open up a ton of cap space this coming offseason.

According to Spotrac, the Sixers only have Embiid and Paul Reed under contract for next season. Maxey will be a restricted free agent (which means the team can match any contract for him if it extends him a qualifying offer), but the Sixers are set to shed salaries that belong to players like Tobias Harris, Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, De’Anthony Melton, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Buddy Hield.

George would be a major upgrade over Harris as the next option alongside Maxey and Embiid. This season, the nine-time All-Star is averaging 22.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.

A premier wing scorer, George would give the Sixers an improved ability to shoot – and isolate – from the wing position than they currently have this season. Replacing Harris – who is averaging 17.1 points per game and shooting 33.8 percent from deep – with George would be a massive upgrade for Philly as it looks to pursue an NBA title with Embiid still in the prime of his career.

Plus, Embiid’s knee injury this season may have shown the Sixers that they need another proven star on the roster to carry the team if the big man goes down. The Sixers are just 12-22 without Embiid this season.

It’ll be interesting to see if George opts out of his deal, as that could lead to a bidding war between Philly and the Clippers this coming offseason.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.