The trade ends weeks of speculation regarding George, the 27-year-old forward who had committed to playing with the Pacers in 2017-18 but said he would become a free agent next offseason and preferred to join the Los Angeles Lakers. George is from Southern California.
But the Thunder won out on the George sweepstakes, a move that no doubt leaves reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook happy and shifts another star player from the Eastern Conference to the West. The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls on draft night.
The Thunder have been pursuing trades to pair another star with Westbrook since draft week, pushing for deals for Butler and George, sources told ESPN's Royce Young. With Westbrook eligible to sign a five-year extension, the Thunder wanted to remain proactive.
Following the season, the directive from Westbrook to the front office was that he wanted to see the team improved for next season, and acquiring George certainly sends a strong message. But with George under contract for only one more season, Westbrook also could wait on re-signing to see how next season goes, as well as what George decides.
Westbrook is eligible for the designated player supermax extension, but if he waits until next summer, he will reach the 10-year veteran threshold and could get effectively the same amount of money.
Adding George was the first shoe to drop for the Thunder as they reshape the roster around Westbrook, and as one source said, "They aren't done yet." The Thunder plan to meet with Rudy Gay as free agency opens Saturday, according to sources, to add more scoring options alongside Westbrook and George.
Early Saturday morning in separate posts on Instagram, George said goodbye to the Pacers and their fans ...
... and hello to his new running mate in Oklahoma City.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas immediately took note of Friday night's blockbuster. Oklahoma City's odds to win the 2017-18 NBA title went from 80-1 to 40-1, according to the Westgate SuperBook.
As for the East, the move solidifies the Cavaliers as the class of the conference.
"The East continues to get worse," a source told ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
There was a belief by the Cavaliers that Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard, when it came down to pulling the trigger on a George deal, felt more comfortable shipping him to a Western Conference team rather than an East rival -- the Celtics and Cleveland both made countless inquiries -- eliminating a potential roadblock as Indiana begins a rebuild.
Meanwhile, a source told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that the Celtics offered three first-round picks -- they did not include the Brooklyn Nets' pick in 2018 or the Los Angeles Lakers/Sacramento Kings pick -- and two starters (Jae Crowder being one) for George on draft night but were rejected.
The Thunder were last in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage last season (32.7). George shot 39.3 percent in 2016-17, which would have ranked first on OKC (minimum five attempts).
Oladipo began his career with the Orlando Magic and spent last season in Oklahoma City. He has averaged 15.9 points per game in his four seasons, on 43.4 percent shooting.
Sabonis, the former Gonzaga standout, started 66 games as a rookie last season with OKC, averaging 5.9 points.