Paul George is already becoming the talk of the NBA leading up to free agency this coming offseason. After the Oklahoma City Thunder were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the Utah Jazz, his future with the Thunder is extremely murky. It appears that early reports don’t favor OKC being able to re-sign him.
According to a report from ESPN’s Ryen Russillo, George is “gone” from the Thunder and will not re-sign with the team this offseason. He did not have any information on where George will end up signing, but was certain that the star forward would leave the Thunder.
“Today is the first time I’ve heard from anybody that I trust that George is gone. I don’t know where. It’s a ‘he’s gone’ deal.”
Oklahoma City was expected to be a serious contender in the Western Conference this season. Unfortunately, George and Russell Westbrook were unable to power the team to contention. Carmelo Anthony was the other part of the “big three,” but his game looked old and quite simply bad throughout the majority of the season.
George ended up having a solid all-around season. He averaged 21.9 points per game to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. In addition to those numbers, George shot 43.0 percent from the field overall and knocked down 40.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the three-point arc.
Indiana now looks to be the winner of the trade that sent George to Oklahoma City. If George does end up leaving the Thunder, they will have traded both Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana for a first-round exit with George. Oladipo ended up being an All-Star this season, while Sabonis showed major signs of growth and has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.
There is one thing going in Oklahoma City’s favor. They can offer George a deal worth $177 million over five years, while other teams can only offer $132 million over four.
It is expected that George will head back home to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers. That is something that he has always wanted to do and he finally has that opportunity.
Oklahoma City will now be stuck with another year of Carmelo, and Russell Westbrook will be back to being a one-man show unless the Thunder can attract another high-caliber free agent or make a trade to acquire a legitimate second star.