Paul George is set to hit free agency this offseason after a frustrating season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Heading into the 2017-18 NBA season, everyone thought the Thunder would be one of the teams to beat in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, chemistry never came for the Thunder and they were bounced by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Looking ahead at free agency, George will have some tough decisions to make. Does he want to re-sign with the Thunder to continue playing with Russell Westbrook? Is it time to return home to L.A. or go somewhere else?
George is expected to strongly consider returning home to play with the Lakers. Re-signing with the Thunder is an option, but multiple reports have stated that he will not take that route. There is one team that hasn’t been talked about at all as a potential destination for George that would be a perfect fit.
Utah would be exactly the kind of team that George could sign with and fit in perfectly.
That’s right, the team that knocked him out of the playoffs would be an ideal spot for George. They could use a star like George to place alongside Donovan Mitchell and he would give them the kind of lockdown wing defender that the Jazz could use to go up against talents like James Harden and Kevin Durant.
During the 2017-18 season with the Thunder, George averaged 21.9 points per game, to go along with 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. He also chipped in 2.0 steals per game, to go along with a 43.0 overall shooting percentage, and 40.1 three-point percentage.
Signing with the Jazz wouldn’t be a “flashy” move, but they are a team ready to win now. George has said all along that he would like to play with a team that can give him the opportunity to win a championship. If he truly means that, Utah would be an ideal destination for him.
Could Paul George and Kawhi Leonard head back to their hometown of LA?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 2, 2018
If the Jazz are able to work their way into the George sweepstakes, they will need to create some cap room in order to sign him. That is something that could cause a hiccup in potential negotiations, but the Jazz would likely be able to find ways to create enough room to bring George onboard if he wants to do so.
Quin Snyder would have a formidable “big four” in the starting lineup with George, Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Ricky Rubio. Signing George would definitely mean that Derrick Favors would be heading out of town.
George did have a bit of an issue with Joe Ingles in the playoffs. Both players were aggressively going after each other. That likely wouldn’t be an issue for either player should George choose to sign with the Jazz.
Lately, rumors have been buzzing about a possible George reunion with the Indiana Pacers. While it is certainly an intriguing thought, the Indianapolis Star had more on why the two sides will not try to reunite this offseason.
More than likely, the Jazz will not be able to get into the running for George. Almost everyone expects him to sign with the Lakers fairly early in free agency. He has made it clear that he wants to play for his hometown team since being traded by the Pacers last offseason.
That being said, if he is looking for an ideal place to sign, win, and play a huge role, Utah would be one of those places. They are much better and more prepared to win than the Lakers. Playing with Mitchell would be a draw for most free agents as well, although George may be looking to be the main star wherever he signs.
Expect to see the rumors continue flying around George’s name as free agency draws closer. Utah isn’t likely going to be mentioned in them, but it would be an intriguing fit, to say the least.