NBA Free Agency Rumors: Paul George Spurns Lakers, Re-Signs With Thunder
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As a Southern California native and childhood fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, many expected it was merely a matter of time until Paul George joined the organization. That came to the forefront last summer when George asked the Indiana Pacers to trade him.

In an attempt to strong-arm his way to Los Angeles, George made it clear of his intention to sign with the Lakers as a 2018 free agent. Undeterred, the Pacers traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Although he was entering the final year of his contract, the Thunder viewed the opportunity as a year-long audition. They later traded for Carmelo Anthony and assembled a big three that had talent but also appeared flawed.

Oklahoma City flamed out in the first round of the playoffs, lending to more speculation that George would sign with the Lakers once he reached free agency.

After declining his $20.7 million player option for the 2018-19 season, George and the Thunder quickly came to terms on a contract before free agency officially began, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

While there was speculation George would sign a short deal, he’s agreed to a four-year max contract that includes a player option:

George denying the Lakers is a surprise, to say the least, though there had been a growing sense he would remain in Oklahoma City.

Heading into free agency, the Lakers’ were believed to have grand plans of signing George and LeBron James, coupled with a potential trade for Kawhi Leonard. They reportedly are a favorite to sign James, and acquiring Leonard wouldn’t appear to be too farfetched.

George re-signing with the Thunder validates the high praise he had for Russell Westbrook and the organization as a whole throughout the season. Even after their disappointing playoff exit, George spoke fondly of the Thunder.

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