Paul George and Kevin Durant were among the superstars who decided to change teams in the 2019 NBA offseason. Durant left the Golden State Warriors to team up with Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets, while George demanded a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to join forces with Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers. While the current season is still in limbo, the latest rumors suggest that Durant and George could swap places this summer.
In his recent article, Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report created a list of blockbuster trade offers for every team’s top star. For Durant and the Nets, Ellis proposed that KD could be traded to the Clippers in exchange for George. Trading George for an injured superstar would undeniably be a huge gamble for Los Angeles, but once Durant fully recovers from his Achilles injury and regains his All-Star form, Ellis believes that pairing him with Leonard could make the Clippers the “overwhelming title favorites” in the 2020-21 NBA season.
“The Clippers would be gambling on Durant’s recovery from his Achilles injury, as his upside next to Kawhi Leonard could make them overwhelming title favorites in 2020-21. Leonard and George proved the value of having two elite, interchangeable wings this season, and a fully healthy Durant would be a marked upgrade over George. George can opt out of his contract following the 2020-21 season, while Durant can’t opt out until 2022. The Clippers would thus be guaranteeing themselves at least two more seasons of relevance, while the Nets would be getting a star who’s two years younger and thus better aligned age-wise with Irving.”
Though he personally recruited George to the Clippers, Leonard probably wouldn’t mind the trade, especially if he could be assured that Durant would be returning to full health before next season. When healthy, Durant is indeed an upgrade over George, and unlike Leonard’s current teammate, KD has plenty of championship experience.
A healthy superstar duo of Leonard and Durant — together with veterans like Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, and Montrezl Harrell — would undeniably give the Clippers a better chance of beating any powerhouse teams in the league, including their Western Conference top rivals and Staples Center co-tenant, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Meanwhile, though it would diminish their star power, the potential deal would still be beneficial for the Nets as it would enable them to replace Durant with a younger and healthier superstar in George. After trading Durant for George, the Nets would still have enough trade assets left to engage in another blockbuster deal. In past months, rumors are circulating that the Nets would be searching for their third superstar this offseason.