With less than a few hours to go until the start of free agency, things were awfully quiet on the team front. Until ESPN's Ramond Shelburne dropped a "Shel-Bomb" on the NBA world:
Whoa. Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti was essentially able to flip Serge Ibaka, a shell of the player he used to be for Paul George, arguably the fourth best small forward in the NBA.
The trade itself has turned the NBA world upside down. Even the city of Oklahoma City chimed in on the matter:
This trade instantly vaults Oklahoma City back into the upper echelon of the NBA Western Conference. After Houston made their move to secure Chris Paul and now this move by Oklahoma City will help them try and keep up with the Golden State Warriors, who may lose forward and key player Andre Iguodala to free agency. Another bonus for Oklahoma City is that they were able to shed Oladipo's four-year, 85-million dollar contract which severely handicapped Oklahoma City for the foreseeable future.
The biggest issue with the trade is the reality that this will be a one-year rental of Paul George for Oklahoma City. Maybe playing alongside Russell Westbrook during the season will reach the tall order of keeping George from returning home to the Los Angeles Lakers. But until then the Oklahoma City Thunder are the early winners of NBA free agency and it has not even begun yet. Instead of playing with LeBron James in Cleveland or with Isaiah Thomas in Boston, Paul George will be a huge factor for Oklahoma City and be the piece to finally help Russell Westbrook along the way.