Where Paul George will end up is likely the most interesting question entering the NBA offseason. While LeBron James could stunningly leave the Los Angeles Lakers, it seems the most plausible that James will stay in purple and gold. But the other L.A. team, the Clippers, may look different when they open up the 2024-25 season in their new arena.

Ahead of the opening of the Intuit Dome, the Clippers' new arena in Inglewood, the team is reportedly hesitant to simply run the same collection of players back out after another disappointing postseason. While Kawhi Leonard is already under contract after signing a three-year max extension in January, George, Leonard's running mate since they came to the Clippers in the 2019 offseason, is not a lock to return to the team.

It had been reported and speculated for much of this past season that George could leave the Clippers, potentially the Philadelphia 76ers or back to the Indiana Pacers, and it seems increasingly more likely with each passing day that George will ultimately be with a new team by Opening Night in October. But which team? That's not as clear.

However, one club could make a surprising attempt to acquire George: the Golden State Warriors.

“The Clippers and George have been far apart in contract negotiations, as the All-Star is seeking a max-level deal that the team has been unwilling to offer to this point, sources said,” ClutchPoints' Brett Siegel reported. “Even with the organization still having the rights to negotiate with George prior to his opt-out date, there has been no movement on any new deal for the Clippers. This has led to the idea of George leaving Los Angeles growing stronger every day we inch closer to the start of free agency.

“But the most fascinating team that has a level of interest in and could pursue George this offseason is the Warriors, league sources said. Of course, everything for the Warriors and a potential pursuit of George revolves around what their cap situation is going to look like.”

Siegel further explained that the Warriors could use the contracts of Chris Paul, Kevon Looney, and Gary Payton II, who would make a combined $47.1 million in the 2024-25 season and would be enough outgoing salary to trade for George, who is set to make $48.8 million if he were to opt in to the final year of his contract with the Clippers. The hypothetical trade would give something to the Clippers, who would receive nothing if George opts out and signs with a new team in free agency.

One or both of the teams would have to do some work in regard to their respective caps to execute the trade. More specifically, the Warriors need to get below the second apron to combine the salaries of Paul, Payton, and Looney because teams above the dreaded second apron are not permitted to aggregate outgoing salaries in a trade. Letting Klay Thompson walk (and wiping out his $45.9 million cap hold), which seems increasingly likely, would allow the team to shed some salary and potentially get under the second apron in order to package the trio of players to acquire George.

Is this the end of an era for Warriors and Clippers?

Los Angeles Clippers player Paul George and Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry

To say the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors have had varying levels of success with their respective cores would be a gigantic understatement.

The Warriors have won four NBA Championships over the past decade, doing it all with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. The team, in some ways, changed how basketball played. The Clippers have not been nearly as successful.

Although Kawhi Leonard and Paul George arrived in Los Angeles during the 2019 offseason to great fanfare and expectations, the Clippers fell short of becoming a championship team. In five seasons, the Clippers made it to the Western Conference Finals once (the only such appearance in franchise history), were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round each of the last two seasons, missed the playoffs altogether in 2022 (the year the Warriors won their fourth title), and suffered an embarrassing second-round series loss to the Denver Nuggets in the 2020 postseason.

The Clippers' shortcomings cannot be accurately told without mentioning the team's horrid injury luck, however. Although Leonard and George each had injury histories before joining the Clippers, they each struggled to see the court enough together to fulfill the expectations many had for them. Leonard, in particular, suffered from multiple knee injuries, which prevented him from finishing any of the past four seasons.

Although the Clippers were relatively healthy this past year, and the addition of James Harden seemed to help the team, Leonard sustained another injury two games into the playoffs and missed the rest of the series.

Injuries have not been as large of a part of the Warriors' demise, but Thompson has certainly felt the effects of severe injuries. Once one of the best shooters in the NBA, Thompson suffered a torn ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals and then a torn Achilles tendon shortly before the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

After two and a half years of inactivity, Thompson finally returned to the court in January 2022 and helped the Warriors capture their fourth championship in eight years. Since then, Thompson's play noticeably declined, which led Warriors coach Steve Kerr to temporarily use Thompson as a reserve rather than a starter.

Now,  Thompson may depart in free agency for a larger and longer deal, as well as a larger role on offense, which would spell the end of his time with the Warriors after 13 years.