Just like in life, taking a gamble in basketball is always rather risky. On the court if a defender gambles and misses on a steal, this usually gives their opponent the golden opportunity to easily score. Off the court, front offices often take a gamble with personal decisions hoping that a free agent signing or trade can change the fortunes of their franchise. And much like a gamble on the court, roster gambles can blow up in a team’s face.
But when a gamble pays off, oh how sweet it is. That sweet feeling is what the Oklahoma City Thunder, who took a gamble by trading for All-Star forward Paul George, are hoping happens this season.
As a player, George is by no means a gamble. He is a four-time All-Star, All-NBA player and one of the best two-way players in the league. George is a legitimate superstar and was the primary reason the Indiana Pacers experienced some success in the last few years.
But as a member of the Thunder that fills a key roster spot, George is a gamble. He has one year on his contract and has made it quite clear that he plans on signing with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers next summer. That’s the main reason the Pacers traded away George: they needed to get something in return now instead of watching him head to sunny Los Angeles and leaving them in the dust.
The Thunder though, are willing to take this risk with George. Mainly because he is Paul freaking George, one of the best players in the league. And Oklahoma City believes that by pairing George with a MVP in Russell Westbrook, his mind could change and he might want to re-sign with the Thunder. This line of thinking also applies to Westbrook as he is also a free-agent next summer, and the addition of George shows him how serious the Thunder are about continually getting better.