Former Kentucky star swept up in latest NBA mega-deal

22 of best moments, faces of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander this season

Photos from the 2017-2018 Kentucky basketball season of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Music: www.bensound.com
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Photos from the 2017-2018 Kentucky basketball season of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Music: www.bensound.com

Former University of Kentucky standout Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is headed to a new home after only one season in the NBA.

According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the former Wildcats point guard was included in the blockbuster trade overnight that sent Oklahoma City Thunder all-star forward Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. In L.A., George will reportedly join NBA champion Kawhi Leonard in the formation of a “super team” combo reminiscent of the Los Angeles Lakers’ recent pairing of Anthony Davis with LeBron James.

According to the ESPN report, the Clippers traded Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari and several future first-round draft picks to Oklahoma City to obtain George.

Kentucky-Louisville basketball 2017-18
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 14.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game during his one season at Kentucky in 2017-18. Alex Slitz aslitz@herald-leader.com

Gilgeous-Alexander joins a Thunder team that already has a point guard firmly entrenched in perennial all-star Russell Westbrook. However, there are already rumblings that Oklahoma City might look to trade Westbrook and go into full rebuild mode.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who played one season at UK in 2017-18, is the latest Kentucky connection for the Oklahoma City franchise. Head coach Billy Donovan got his start as an assistant to Rick Pitino at Kentucky. The Thunder roster includes former UK standouts Hamidou Diallo, Nerlens Noel and Patrick Patterson.

Gilgeous-Alexander played in all 82 games for the Clippers as a rookie this past season, starting 73. He averaged 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He shot 36.7 percent from three-point range (51-for-139). He was named to the NBA’s all-rookie second team.

Gilgeous-Alexander has now been traded twice in his brief NBA career. The Clippers acquired him on draft night in 2018 after he was originally selected 11th overall by the Charlotte Hornets.