The Indiana Pacers have agreed to trade Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, according to two people familiar with the deal, in a stunning deal that gives MVP Russell Westbrook a new running mate.
The people said the teams came together on the trade Friday just hours before the free-agent market was set to open. The people spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade was not official.
George told the Pacers recently that he planned to leave as a free agent next summer, forcing the team to find a trade before losing him for nothing.
The All-Star forward averaged a career-best 23.7 points last season in leading Indiana to the first round of the playoffs.
The trade was first reported by ESPN.
Timberwolves clear salary cap space with trade
The Minnesota Timberwolves reached an agreement with Utah on Friday to send point guard Ricky Rubio to the Jazz to clear salary cap space for a big run in free agency.
The Jazz sent a protected future first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Timberwolves in exchange for Rubio, the Spaniard who has struggled with injuries at times over his six years in Minnesota. Utah received the pick when it traded Enes Kanter in a three-team deal in 2015.
The two sides agreed to the move hours before free agency opened. The Jazz needed to make the deal before July 1 or would have lost the salary cap room necessary to pull it off.
They Jazz are looking to bolster the roster with hopes of convincing All-Star free-agent Gordon Hayward to return and build off last season’s playoff run. Utah reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
The deal means Minnesota can clear as much as $32 million in cap space to make a run at several free agents to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and the recently acquired Jimmy Butler. Timberwolves targets could include Jeff Teague and J.J. Redick.
The Atlanta Hawks have taken a step to prepare for Saturday’s start of the free agency period by requesting waivers on backup wing player Mike Dunleavy. The Hawks acquired Dunleavy as part of a package that included a protected future first round pick from Cleveland for guard Kyle Korver on Jan. 7. Dunleavy was to earn $5.2 million in the 2017-18 season. The move frees money that can be used in the team’s effort to re-sign power forward Paul Millsap. The 36-year-old Dunleavy averaged 5.6 points in 30 games, all as a reserve, with Atlanta. …
The Chicago Bulls have waived veteran point guard Rajon Rondo. The Bulls bought out Rondo for $3 million Friday rather than exercise a $13.4 million option for next season. He signed a two-year deal to come to Chicago last summer. The 31-year-old Rondo was in and out of the rotation, chided Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade for criticizing the team’s effort and finished the season on a strong note before missing the final four playoff games against Boston because of a broken right thumb. The four-time All-Star averaged 7.8 points and 6.7 assists. The Bulls had said Rondo would probably be back, but he became expendable when they acquired Kris Dunn from Minnesota in the Butler trade on draft night. Chicago also waived guard Isaiah Canaan.
7:40 p.m.: This article has been updated with the trade of Paul George from Indiana to Oklahoma City.
This article was originally published at 4:50 p.m.