Paul George was one of the most talked-about names in the NBA this past offseason. The Indiana Pacers entered the offseason hoping to find a way to convince him to re-sign long-term, but George ended that hope by informing the team that he would not re-sign following the 2017-18 season. Following that statement, Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard immediately began shopping George in trade talks.
Rumors swirled about potential deals with the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Cleveland Cavaliers, but when everything was said and done, the Pacers traded George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
While the Pacers have received some criticism for what they ended up getting, both Oladipo and Sabonis will be nice young pieces to help their re-tooling process. Indiana is not looking to tank, which has been obvious from their offseason overhaul. That being said, the Thunder should be very happy that they were able to get George for two young pieces.
All of that being said, the question remains: Will George stay in Oklahoma City past this season? He is expected to have a major interest in signing with the Lakers next offseason, but why should he decide to stay with the Thunder?
Even with just Westbrook OKC made it to the playoffs, now we add Paul George to the equation! pic.twitter.com/C0C4BuasyT
— Dennis lin (@Lasercorn4000) July 29, 2017
Reason number one is simply the fact that he will be playing alongside Russell Westbrook. The reigning MVP is a one-of-a-kind talent and George should fit nicely with him. George has always complained about not having enough help in Indiana, but that won’t be a problem for him in Oklahoma City.
In case you missed how excited the Thunder fan base was about welcoming George, check out this video of his reception after stepping off the plane.
Paul George got a warm welcome in OKC! pic.twitter.com/AoY2EzHdf5
— MICKEY BLACK (@mickeyblk09) July 13, 2017
Needless to say, the fans are crazy about him, which is something that may not come in a city like L.A. all the time. Oklahoma City fans are among the best in the league and George will find it a comfortable home, just like he did in Indiana throughout his entire career to this point.
L.A. Will Not Compete Like OKC
George talked about wanting to win a championship a lot after his decision to leave Indiana. If he is truly looking to win now, signing with the Lakers would not be a good career choice. Oklahoma City may not win a championship in the next few years, but they certainly give him a better chance to do so than L.A. could.
It has become apparent over the past few years that George is very concerned about leaving a legacy and a brand on the NBA. He has launched his own shoes and has graced the cover of NBA 2K17. Oklahoma City may not be viewed as a “large market” in the NBA, but they are one of the most popular teams in the league and will help him grow his legacy on the court in a big way.
Expect to hear plenty of rumors about George throughout the upcoming season. He was a headache for the Pacers last season for the same reason, and it won’t get better.
Do you think the Oklahoma City Thunder will be able to retain Paul George? Should George want to return to the Thunder and stay long-term? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Sue Ogrocki/AP Images]