The Oklahoma City Thunder are going to make it incredibly difficult for Paul George to leave. According to Peter Vecsey, not only do the Thunder want to keep the five-time All-Star, but the forward is pretty committed to staying with the franchise himself.
By way of Ashish Mathur of Amico Hoops:
“In his latest Patreon column, Vecsey says George is “committed to re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder” in the offseason instead of bolting for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, the move many have expected George to make.”
The Lakers recently shipped away Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance to create some cap space for the upcoming free agency cycle. People have assumed it was so Magic Johnson could chase both LeBron James and George during that period of time.
Even dating back to his time with the Indiana Pacers, it has long been presumed that George would want to go to the Lakers due to him being from the area. That being said, he’s since gone on the record to state that he’s enjoyed his time playing next to Russell Westbrook.
In fact, in an interview with ESPN, George had this to say:
“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.”
“We were actually joking before he went up there, and I’m like, ‘Nah, Russ, man, just let it go, let it go Russ. It is what it is, I wasn’t picked,’ and he was like, ‘Nah, man, P, that’s messed up. I’m gonna tell them something about that,’” George said.
”It was awesome for a teammate to have your back and to stand up,” he said. “And to be honest, he should be a starter. He’s been the MVP, been the best player at his position. He should’ve been a starter, but that’s another story. But the fact Russ had my back, that’s my guy forever, and it’s more apparent what this decision needs to be made when it comes down to it.”
Only 27, George is one of the better players in the entire NBA. OKC, or any other team for that matter, should make it a point to try to get his services.