Pacers make Paul George trade official

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Paul George walks back to the locker room after the Cavaliers complete a first round sweep of the Pacers. (WTTV April 23, 2017)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Pacers and Thunder trade for Paul George is now official.

The team announced Thursday afternoon that it has traded the four-time NBA All-Star to Oklahoma City for guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis.

“We feel very strongly about the potential Victor and Domantas bring to our team and what they mean for the future of the franchise,” Pacers President Kevin Pritchard told  “Both are highly competitive, highly skilled and both are winners. That is why both were lottery picks, that is why we sought them out to be part of this deal.”

The trade was first reported by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne late Friday night, but could not be confirmed by the teams until the league’s moratorium period ended Thursday at 12:01 p.m.

Oladipo spent one season with the Thunder after spending his first three years with the Magic.  Orlando picked the Indiana product second overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.  He’s averaged 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 points per game in his first four seasons.

Oklahoma City selected Sabonis 11th in the 2016 draft.  He started 66 games averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in his rookie year.

The Pacers picked George with the 10th pick in the 2010 draft.   He averaged 18.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in seven seasons in Indiana.  He was a four-time All-Star, the NBA’s 2013 Most Improved Player and helped the team to two Eastern Conference Finals.

“As for the trade, it was difficult both on a personal and professional level,” Pritchard also told the team’s website.  “Everyone here knows what Paul meant to this franchise; he was both a tremendous human being as well as player here for seven years.  We thank Paul and his family for their contributions to the Pacers and wish him well.”

“Paul is a tremendous fit for our organization on and off the floor,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti in a news release.  “He represents all the positive traits of an elite competitor and we have long admired his relentless pursuit to improve and his ability to impact on-court success.  His skill set is dynamic and at the forefront of the evolution of the game, yet he combines this with traditional and historical values and will.”

Oladipo and Sabonis will be introduced at a news conference Friday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers also officially announced they waived Monta Ellis.  The guard averaged 11.3 points and 4.0 assists per game in two seasons with the team.

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