All-Star Paul George set to join 76ers on $212 million free-agent deal: AP source

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers celebrates his dunk during a 120-118 Clippers win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Arena on April 07, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. User is consenting to the terms an

Paul George and the Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to a four-year, $212 million free-agent contract, a person with knowledge of the deal said early Monday morning.

A nine-time All-Star, George intends to sign the contract shortly after the league’s moratorium on signings is lifted July 6, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be announced until that time.

With George joining 2023 NBA MVP Joel Embiid and All-Star guard Tyrese Maxey, the 76ers will boast one of the most formidable trios in the league as they try and put together a nucleus that can compete with NBA champion Boston.

George picked Philadelphia after he spurned the Los Angeles Clippers and declined a player option in his contract for $48.8 million in 2024-2025, ending a five-year stretch with the team where he averaged at least 21.5 points each season.

George has averaged 20.8 points over a 14-year career spent with Indiana, Oklahoma City and the Clippers.

The Clippers' attempt at winning it all with their Big 3 of George, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden fell flat.

"Paul has informed us that he is signing his next contract with another team," the Clippers said in a release Sunday night.

The team added: "We negotiated for months with Paul and his representative on a contract that would make sense for both sides, and we were left far apart. The gap was significant. We understand and respect Paul’s decision to look elsewhere for his next contract."

He looked all the way across to Philadelphia.

The 34-year-old George joins a Sixers team that has been a perennial underachiever, even as Embiid blossomed into one of the top players in the NBA. They have not won an NBA title since 1983 or even advanced out of the second round of the Eastern Conference since 2001.

Embiid, set to play this summer for Team USA at the Paris Olympics, fueled rumors George was headed to Philadelphia during a TV appearance together during the NBA Finals.

"Hopefully this offseason, we find a way to get better, and you know," Embiid said, pausing to side-eye George, "add some pieces."

The 76ers have failed to find the right pieces to field a winner around Embiid, failing with Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Harden and the list goes on. Team president Daryl Morey had prepared for this opportunity for years, constructing a roster with essentially all expired contracts at the end of this past season. Embiid and Maxey, expected to sign a five-year, $205 million contract this summer, are the lone key holdovers on a team that lost to the New York Knicks in the first round of the East playoffs.

The 76ers did strengthen their roster with the expected addition of center Andre Drummond as Morey is set to build the rest of the roster around their latest attempt at a Big 3.

George is a six-time member of the All-NBA Team. He’s a four-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team and was the league’s most improved player in 2013. He was a finalist for both NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, when he led the league with 2.21 steals per contest. George also has never played in an NBA Finals.

Much like Embiid, George's injury history should give the 76ers reason for some concern. George played 76 games last season, the first time he played more than 56 since 2018-19.

Still, with few available options, and roughly $65 million in salary cap space, the 76ers had little choice but to chase an aging — yet, still elite — star such as George.

"We’re planning on being the best team in the East next season," Morey said during the NBA draft.

George at least keeps them in the mix in the East.