THE THUNDER BLUE PRINT
For the record, I've often called Paul George one of the most overrated superstars in the NBA (only behind names like Blake Griffin and Kyle Lowry) but he's still a superstar nonetheless. OKC is a perfect example of what the Magic will need to do in the future if they too want to land a big-name free-agent.
Here's the recipe that the Thunder laid out. It takes one part having a star in place already (Russell Westbrook), one part aggressive management (Sam Presti), and one part cap space. Paul George went from dreaming of days playing in LA, to settling into rural Oklahoma City on a 4-year contract. It's amazing what can happen when a guy believes in management, or when he feels like management believes in him, and there's a culture of trust that the right decisions are going to be made going forward.
The Magic will soon have the opportunity to do the same if Aaron Gordon ever blossoms or Mo Bamba lives up to his incredible hype and continues to deliver that dynamic personality. This is how teams in a desperate new-era of NBA hoops need to structure their growth. You have to be willing to go for it and gamble on a guy with an expiring contract, as George had when he was traded from Indiana. Especially when your in a non-traditional basketball market like OKC, Orlando, or like the New Orleans (who may need to do the same to keep Anthony Davis past 2021).
Take notes Orlando, this might be your path to superstardom very shortly...
Listen for more this morning on Open Mike 6-9am and follow me on twitter @BrandonKravitz.