The NBA rumors surrounding Paul George took little time getting stirred up after the Oklahoma City Thunder’s elimination on Friday night, with George’s postgame words fueling speculation that he is preparing to move to Los Angeles this offseason.
George’s move to the Thunder came as something of a surprise last offseason, but he was unable to work up enough chemistry with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to put the team over the hump. The Thunder were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in six games, and questions about George’s future started immediately. As the Express noted, George’s answers on the matter have done little to slow the NBA rumors.
Speaking with reporters following the loss, George said he had an “amazing season” and would like to return to the Thunder next year. But perhaps more telling from the 27-year-old free agent was what came next, saying it was “too soon” to make any decision and he would take another look this summer.
There have been longstanding rumors that the Palmdale, California, native would jump to the Los Angeles Lakers once free agency starts this season, and Paul George himself has been open in talking about his desire to play there. In a February interview (via the Norman Transcript), George said he would “love to go home” to play.
“Of course, Los Angeles is home, so that’s always going draw the attention. But we’ll see. I won’t rule anything out, but I’m definitely happy where I’m at,” George said. “I like where we’re going, and I want to see how this unfolds.”
Now that the experiment in Oklahoma City unfolded terribly, with the Thunder failing to make it out of the first round, the NBA rumors connecting Paul George to the Los Angeles Lakers are kicking into high gear. The USA Today‘s Hoops Hype picked the Lakers as the most likely destination for him this offseason, noting that the Lakers will have plenty of cap space and can offer George a four-year, $130.6 million max deal.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had previously reported that the Lakers were planning to make a run at both Paul George and LeBron James this offseason, a push the team had been preparing for over the past few years by assembling the needed cap space.
But with free agency still months away and no clarity from the All-Star small forward, the NBA rumors surrounding Paul George are only likely to grow until free agency actually starts.