Report: Steve Ballmer was skeptical about picks in Paul George trade

When the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder were discussing the Paul George trade details, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was reportedly skeptical about sending OKC a plethora of picks to gain George.

Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times wrote an article detailing how the Clippers acquired George and Kawhi Leonard this summer. In the piece Clippers coach Doc Rivers talked about Ballmer’s reluctance during the trade talks with OKC.

“Steve Ballmer was nervous about the picks,” Rivers said. “I said, ‘Steve, you keep saying six picks for Paul George is insane, but you’re saying it wrong. It’s not six for Paul; it’s six for Paul and Kawhi. So three for each. I would do that.’ You have to look at it in those terms.”

In the trade, Los Angeles sent unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026. The Clippers also sent the Miami Heat’s first-round picks for 2021 and 2023, and Los Angeles and OKC will have pick swaps in 2023 and 2025. Along with sending OKC multiple picks, the Clippers traded Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari.

The trade helps the Clippers greatly, as they’re in the mix to contend for the title this upcoming season. Leonard and George are two top 10 NBA players, being able to score off the dribble and shoot well. Both players are also two of the best perimeter defenders in the league.

For the Thunder, trading George to Clippers, along with dealing Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets, marks the beginning of a new era where the team will have to rebuild.

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