After declining his $20.7 million player option for the 2018-19 NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul George will officially become an unrestricted free agent.
Despite the Indiana Pacers trading George to the Thunder prior to the 2017-18 season, he was consistently linked with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, with president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka opting for free agency instead of a trade, there was a major risk with such a decision.
Although the Thunder were ultimately eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz, it allowed George to develop a relationship with Russell Westbrook and the organization. As a result, there is uncertainty about the 28-year-old wanting to play for his hometown team.
According to Marc Stein of New York Times, George is considering a short-term deal to re-sign with the Thunder:
It has been hard to ignore the whispers steadily rising in volume for the past month that George, the All-Star forward, is strongly considering signing a two- or three-year deal to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Heading into free agency, recent reports have George likely returning to Oklahoma City. However, if Los Angeles has an opportunity to meet with the five-time All-Star and sell him on potentially playing with LeBron James and/or Kawhi Leonard, things will get interesting.
For president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, they took a calculated risk by trading numerous prospects for cap space. While they have established a two-year window for free agency, there is a grand opportunity in front of them to end the rebuilding process.
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