The Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder officially finalized the trade between the teams on Thursday that is sending Paul George to the Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
"We feel very strongly about the potential Victor and Domantas bring to our team and what they mean for the future of the franchise," Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard said in a statement. "Both are highly competitive, highly skilled and both are winners. That is why both were lottery picks, that is why we sought them out to be part of this deal."
The deal ended a nearly year-long saga involving George's future, though with the superstar wing set to hit free agency next season, the next storyline will be whether he ultimately remains in Oklahoma City or signs elsewhere.
One of the worst-kept secrets in the NBA is that George wants to play for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, so the Thunder essentially made the gamble that a season with Russell Westbrook and a playoff run may be enough to keep George in OKC for the long term.
That gamble is two-pronged: If George ultimately departs and the cupboard is left bare for Russell Westbrook, the defending MVP could look to sign elsewhere as well next summer to chase a title.
George, 27, averaged 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds for Indiana this season, leading the team to the postseason.
As for the Pacers, the team faced losing George without gaining any assets in return next season, so trading George made sense. On the other hand, Indiana didn't receive any draft picks, and in Oladipo and Sabonis, it received a solid if unspectacular player and a relatively unknown commodity.
Oladipo, 25, averaged 15.9 points for the Thunder last season, while Sabonis posted just 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds. The duo will be joining an interesting core of Myles Turner, T.J. Leaf, Darren Collison and Thaddeus Young, though reaching the postseason again with a superstar like George will be a major challenge, even in the diluted Eastern Conference.