The Oklahoma City Thunder didn't bring in Carmelo Anthony and Paul George this season to see themselves battling for a playoff spot in the West. They didn't do it to create a super team for the future. They did it to compete now, and the move has yet to pay dividends.
The Thunder have yet to find a perfect fit for all these superstars in their team, and there is no guarantee that Paul George will remain after the summer. There are a lot of teams looking to add him to their arsenal, and if things go bad this season, the Thunder might lose him for nothing.
There are a lot of rumors flying around in the league, and the Thunder should think twice about their future. Failing to make the playoffs would be extremely bad for the Thunder, but it could get much worse, as George could bolt. Let's have a look at what the Thunder could do before the trade deadline in order to minimize the loss and help Russell Westbrook to form a really good team in the future. He needs better role players around himself, and maybe they can find them until the trade deadline.
5. Houston Rockets: Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker
The Houston Rockets really wanted to add Carmelo Anthony this season, but they were unable to put up a viable offer. However, the situation with Paul George is a tad different. They can offer sharpshooter Eric Gordon and tenacious defender PJ Tucker in order to lure the Thunder.
Such a move would give the Thunder one more strong shooter off the bench, while PJ Tucker would be a nice addition for his strong defense on the opposing forwards. Paul George would find himself in another star-crowded team, but a much more healthy for that matter.
4. Portland Blazers: Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu and a 2nd round pick
This is surely a really good landing spot for Paul George, as the Blazers are really thin in the forward spots. They are dying to find a player like Paul George, that will provide both on the offensive end, and on the defensive.
The Thunder could really use an all-around player like Turner to come off their thin bench, and they could shift Carmelo to the 3. Al-Farouq Aminu could play as a starter in that line-up, but he might be better off the bench. Such a move would give a lot of versatility to use some different line-ups.
3. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart
The Celtics have gathered a ton of assets in recent years, and giving up Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart for Paul George would not thin their roster at all. With Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving also on the roster, the addition of Paul George would create one of the strongest teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Thunder would also welcome this trade, as they would finally get a strong back-up for Westbrook of the bench, and also a promising G/F in Jaylen Brown, who could easily slip into the starting line-up. However, that would require that Paul George would commit to re-signing with the Celtics in the summer.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson
Should a trade like this were to happen, it would probably provide the best landing spots for all the players involved. Paul George would finally go to the Lakers who heavily recruited him prior to his trade to the Thunder. He would be the face of the franchise, and could possibly attract other big names to the Lakers.
Now the Thunder would land a really strong Power Forward to add to their roster, as they only have Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson right now. Moreover, the addition of Jordan Clarkson would give them some firepower off the bench, as the Thunder are not really strong in the PG/SG positions.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and the Nets' 1st round pick
Now we all know that Paul George wants a ring, and he would love to be traded to LeBron's side. There is so much that could go right with the Cavs with this trade, no doubt about it. They will finally offload Shumpert's contract, as he has been a non-factor this season. The Nets' pick might be their biggest loss from this trade, as Frye hasn't been anything special when everyone's healthy.
However, Frye could actually work as a floor-spacer for the Thunder, who only have Patrick Patterson to do that right now. Also, some depth behind Steven Adams would be more than welcome. Shumpert would also be a great fit here, as he is also buried in the Cavs' bench. The draft pick is also something to consider, with the rookies getting better and better each season. This deal would definitely benefit both teams, and it will be something to look forward to as we come ever closer to the trade deadline.