Report: 76ers’ Interest in Pursuing Paul George ‘Has Significantly Waned’ in Recent Days

Report: 76ers’ Interest in Pursuing Paul George ‘Has Significantly Waned’ in Recent Days Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers forward Paul George (13) drives to the basket against the Dallas Mavericks during the first quarter during Game 6 in the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

All signs pointed in the direction of Paul George signing with the Philadelphia 76ers at the start of free agency. However, the situation took a completely different turn on Thursday evening. According to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Sixers’ interest in pursuing George “has significantly waned in recent days.”

Sixers’ star center Joel Embiid lobbied hard for the team to sign George. The two were seen together on ESPN’s NBA Countdown pre-game show before Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Multiple other reports indicated George was leaning towards leaving the Los Angeles Clippers and testing the free agent market. George, a nine-time All-Star, would have been a good on-court fit in Philadelphia. He averaged 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 41.3% from 3-point range last season.

With the Sixers reportedly no longer pursuing George, what other options are they left with this offseason? If they continue hunting for another star player, they have options both in free agency or via trade. LeBron James would be at the top of the list, but he will only hit the market if he declines his player option with the Los Angeles Lakers. OG Anunoby, who has a player option with the New York Knicks, has recently surfaced as a potential option via free agency. The prevailing opinion is Anunoby will receive an extension with New York. However, there is some noise about Anunoby testing the market due to being unhappy with what the Knicks are offering. DeMar DeRozan is another potential option in free agency. The 34-year old averaged 24 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists with the Chicago Bulls last season.

The Sixers also have a few options they could look at that would require making a trade. Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler is one possibility, although there has not been much noise around a Butler trade in recent weeks. The same cannot be said about New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram. Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported earlier Thursday the Pelicans reached out to the Sixers about a potential Ingram trade. The 26-year old is an established scorer, averaging 23.1 points per game over the last five seasons.

Philadelphia can also go the route of signing multiple role players at a lower price point. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has proven to be one of the league’s best 3-and-D players. Klay Thompson, a career 41.3% shooter from beyond the arc, is on the tail end of his prime but still has a lot to offer. Tyus Jones would be an excellent addition to the roster. He averaged 12 points and 7.3 assists while shooting 41.4% from long distance for the Washington Wizards last season. Patrick Williams, a restricted free agent with the Bulls, is an intriguing option.

On another front, the Sixers lost out on the opportunity to bolster their guard rotation with one of the league’s premier perimeter defenders. The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Alex Caruso from the Bulls in return for Josh Giddey. The move sent shockwaves throughout the league. Caruso averaged 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1 block and 1.7 steals per game last season. He would have been a great addition to the Sixers’ roster.

There is a lot of uncertainty about what the Sixers are going to do this offseason. The 2024 NBA Draft begins on June 26. Free agency starts June 30 at 6 p.m. EST. The Sixers possess upwards of $65 million in salary cap space and hold both the 16th and 41st picks in the draft.

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