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Clippers: George leaving after 'significant' gap in talks

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All-Star wing Paul George will leave the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency after five seasons, the club announced Sunday.

The 34-year-old is seeking a four-year contract but couldn't coax an offer longer than three seasons from the Clippers, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Philadelphia 76ers are the front-runners to sign George, reports Wojnarowski. The Orlando Magic have also been linked to George.

"We negotiated for months with Paul and his representative on a contract that would make sense for both sides, and we were left far apart," the Clippers said in a statement. "The gap was significant. We understand and respect Paul's decision to look elsewhere for his next contract. We explored an opt-in-and-trade scenario, but it would have left us in a similar position under the new CBA, with very little asset value to justify the restrictions.

"We will miss Paul. At the same time, we're excited by the opportunities we've now been afforded, including greater flexibility under the new CBA. Kawhi (Leonard) is an all-NBA player and we believe (Tyronn) Lue is the best coach in the league. We will field a highly competitive team this season, and moving forward, use our organizational advantages to bring top talent to Intuit Dome."

George arrived in Los Angeles with Leonard in a shocking package in the summer of 2019. Leonard signed fresh off leading the Toronto Raptors to an NBA championship, while George joined by simultaneously orchestrating a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Despite the fanfare the duo produced, the Clippers never reached the NBA Finals with the two of them and only advanced to the Western Conference finals once.

George averaged 22.6 points on 47.1% shooting last season, as well as 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. The Fresno State product made the All-Star team three times in five years with the Clippers after earning six nods over nine seasons split between the Indiana Pacers and Thunder.

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