At the end of the 2016-17 NBA season, Paul George reportedly informed the Indiana Pacers he would not re-sign come 2018 free agency. With George eyeing the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pacers ultimately traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Although George teamed up with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to form a big three, there remained whispers of him still wanting to sign with his hometown team. After averaging 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in his first season with the Thunder, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz.
Despite falling short in Oklahoma City, the five-time All-Star is reportedly flip-flopping on the biggest decision of his career.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, George took the first step in becoming an unrestricted free agent by opting out of his $20.7 million player option for the 2018-19 season:
Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George has informed franchise officials that he will not be opting in for the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told ESPN.
With free agency nearing, the Lakers are reportedly concerned George will re-sign with the Thunder.
However, when president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka ultimately did not want to trade their young core, they understood the risks associated with waiting for George in free agency.
The Thunder had an entire season to persuade George to re-sign and there are now conflicting reports about his future. While Westbrook is one of the best players in the league, the Lakers can construct a much better team with potentially LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard.
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