NBA rumors about a Paul George trade may be done. George hinted at staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder after Russell Westbrook defended him recently. George was overlooked for the Western Conference All-Star team, leading to Westbrook making some very poignant comments about his teammate.
A report by ESPN relayed the comments that Russell Westbrook made when the All-Star reserves were named. The comments were widely publicized, with players like Damian Lillard expressing their disappointment in what Westbrook said. What Westbrook had to say may have impressed George quite a bit, though, possibly convincing him that Oklahoma City is the place to stay.
“Unbelievable. I think it’s just outrageous, in my opinion. I don’t know who else made the team but got four people from one team, you’ve got guys complaining about getting snubbed until they get in, you’ve got guys just talking about it all the time.”
There had been a lot of NBA rumors about a possible Paul George trade before the upcoming NBA trade deadline, but what he said on Thursday, January 25, may have changed that story a bit. A new report by NBA.com quotes George when addressing the Westbrook comments.
“Russ is the reason why this decision is becoming even more easier to make, is the character Russ [has]. A stand-up guy, and he has his teammate’s back.[sic]”
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— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 24, 2018
The decision that Paul George is talking about is whether he will play for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2018-19 NBA season, or look to sign with another team. One team that keeps getting linked to George is the Los Angeles Lakers, as the franchise might be able to land two big-name free agents during the NBA offseason.
Paul George’s contract has a player option worth roughly $20.7 million for the next year. It has long been expected that he would opt out of the deal in order to sign for more money in free agency. The Oklahoma City Thunder can offer him the most money and will have the first crack at signing him to a long-term deal. If he continues to enjoy his first season in Oklahoma, it seems possible that he would jump at the opportunity of playing with Russell Westbrook for years to come.
Despite starting out the season slowly, the Thunder have improved to 27-20 and are now the No. 5 seed in the West. That puts them just two-and-a-half games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 4 seed. Important decisions are ahead, including whether Paul George or Carmelo Anthony are kept on the roster, dictating that quite a few NBA rumors will include Oklahoma City over the next few weeks.