Last week, Paul George committed to the Los Angeles Clippers for the long run, signing a four-year extension to his current contract worth $190 million. The deal kicks in next year and runs through 2025, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Before, George had a player option next offseason that he could have declined, entering unrestricted free agency in 2021. Now, he’ll be suiting up for the Clippers for the foreseeable future as they try to bounce back from their notorious 3-1 collapse in the second round of the NBA playoffs a few months ago.
Let’s take a look at what this deal means for George and the Clippers.
What This Means for Paul George
I mean, this seems pretty clear. In the NBA, it’s hard enough to earn a second contract, let alone a third contract after your rookie deal runs out. Now, Paul George has negotiated his fourth deal in the league, bringing his estimated career earnings to a whopping $354 million at the conclusion of the contract, per Spotrac.
This comes just six years he suffered a broken leg while competing for a roster spot on the United States national team for the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Many thought he would never be the same player, and since then, he’s been a multi-time All-Star, a gold medalist, and an All-NBA talent. Kudos to Paul George for working his tail off and becoming a phenomenal player, despite all the bumps and forks in the road.
What This Means for the Clippers
This extension results in a big sigh of relief for Steve Ballmer and the Clippers front office. Before this, they had to worry about Kawhi Leonard and George declining their player options and both leaving in 2021. With this extension, however, they at least have one of their superstars locked up for the next few years.
Also, this means the trade with the Thunder was successful; with Paul George sticking around, the Clippers will at least be competitive, which means those picks they gave to Oklahoma City won’t be much more than late first-rounders, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Now, we have to address the elephant in the room that is George’s lackluster performance in the playoffs. Against the Mavericks this past playoff run, he averaged 18.5 points per game on 35.8% from the field and 27.5% from behind the arc. He played much better the next round against Denver, but then reverted back to a pumpkin with a nightmarish 10 points on 4-16 shooting in Game 7. In the playoffs overall, he averaged 20.2 points per game, his lowest scoring average in the postseason since his third year in the NBA, while shooting 39.8% from the field, marking the fourth time in his career he shot below 40% in the playoffs.
In the regular season, Paul George was still a really good player; in fact, per 36 minutes, his stats were very similar to his 2018-19 season with the Thunder when he was top-three in MVP and Defensive Player of the Year voting. While he is still extremely gifted and a fringe top-10 player, he does need to play better in the playoffs to make this contract worthwhile.
With a new coach and new pieces in the Clippers rotation to help him and Kawhi, maybe PG-13 can bounce back from such a terrible ending last year. Time will tell, but so far, this looks like a good deal for both sides.