A massive domino fell just hours before NBA free agency tipped off Friday night. The Indiana Pacers traded Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
George had been linked to the Cavaliers in a trade package involving Kevin Love but now lands with Love’s former UCLA teammate and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook.
George told the Pacers recently that he planned to leave as a free agent next summer, forcing the team to find a trade before losing him for nothing. The All-Star forward averaged a career-best 23.7 points last season in leading Indiana to the first round of the playoffs against the Cavaliers.
Elsewhere in the Association Friday night, A person with knowledge of the situation says Blake Griffin has agreed to a five-year deal worth approximately $175 million to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Griffin and the Clippers agreed Friday night on a new deal, one that will be signed when the league’s moratorium on offseason moves ends on July 6.
Griffin opted out last week from the final year of his contract, one that would have paid him $21.4 million.
Griffin has spent his entire career with the Clippers, averaging 21.5 points and 9.4 rebounds on 52 percent shooting in seven seasons. He’s staying with a Clippers team that lost Chris Paul to Houston this week.
The Minnesota Timberwolves reached an agreement with Utah on Friday to send point guard Ricky Rubio to the Jazz to clear salary cap space for a big run in free agency.
The Jazz sent a protected future first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Timberwolves in exchange for Rubio, the Spaniard who has struggled with injuries at times over his six years in Minnesota. Utah received the pick when it traded Enes Kanter in a three-team deal in 2015.
The two sides agreed to the move hours before free agency opened. The Jazz needed to make the deal before July 1 or would have lost the salary cap room necessary to pull it off.
They Jazz are looking to bolster the roster with hopes of convincing All-Star free-agent Gordon Hayward to return and build off last season’s playoff run. Utah reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012.