Paul George impresses for Warriors, but getting him will be tough – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

Just because the Warriors live in the eye of the storm of speculation doesn’t mean that all assumptions are a cry into the ether. There are occasions when there is heat behind the chatter.

Such is the case with Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George.

The Warriors, like the rest of the NBA, consider George a top-25 talent and a top-five two-way wing. Moreover, at 34, the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward fits into Golden State’s win-now approach, where the goal is to maximize what’s left of franchise player Stephen Curry.

The Warriors always have a roster of impact players who, if available, they would explore pursuing. That list included the likes of Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and George.

Rumors of Golden State’s potential interest in George have circulated for weeks and gained more attention Wednesday in the wake of veteran ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst’s comments.

Multiple league sources contacted by NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday confirmed Golden State’s interest — and willingness to pursue a max contract extension with George — while also noting several circumstances that could prevent the vision from becoming a reality.

What are the conditions? First, George would have to exercise his option for the final year of his current contract ($48.8 million), giving Los Angeles a sign-and-trade option. Second, both the Warriors and Clippers would have to drop below Zone 2, which can’t happen until Sunday afternoon, when Klay Thompson and James Harden become free agents. Third, Paul would have to make it clear that he wants to leave Los Angeles, where his immediate family can attend every game.

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Fourth, and most importantly, the Clippers must decide not only that they are willing to trade George, but also trade him to a Western Conference contender like the Warriors.

Those obstacles may have been on Golden State general manager Mike Dunleavy’s mind Monday when he noted the difficulty of making trades in today’s NBA.

“I’m calling everyone, but if the player’s not available and there’s no price, a swap can’t be done,” Dunleavy said.

“We’ve got to be realistic, and I don’t want to like something or pressure it or overdo it. We’ve got to have some patience while at the same time being mindful of kind of that time horizon that we have with Steph and Draymond (Green) and hopefully Klay.

“As these guys get a little older, we have to be aware that at some point they’re not at the level to compete for a championship. I don’t think that’s either (soon). But at some point, it might be the case.” it will be.”

That’s why George, as an immediate upgrade, is so attractive — regardless of Thompson’s decision.

“He wants the full cap, and there are a number of teams out there, I’m told, that are willing to give it to him, that are willing to trade for him,” Windhorst, in a clip from “Get Up,” said of George. “It’s probably going to be one of those teams. Located on the coast in the Golden State.

“Golden State is fishing for big fish. Remember, last trade deadline, they called about LeBron James. They’re sniffing out big deals. If Paul George is willing to leave, they’d like to be an option for him.”

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This was said a day after New Orleans guard CJ McCollum, appearing on another ESPN panel, suggested the Warriors would be a desirable destination if George were willing to leave Los Angeles.

“Can you imagine it, Steve Woodray,” McCollum said. “together?”

The warriors, always shooting for the moon, imagined it. They love it enough to explore, even knowing that it will be extremely difficult to make it a reality.

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