George says Thunder ‘definitely’ title contenders

Paul George signed a four-year contract to remain with the Thunder in July.

Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Paul George has never been one to show a lack of confidence. Who can forget his “Playoff Paul” bravado last season before the Thunder … well, before they lost in the first round?

But that’s so last season. This year, George insists the Thunder can compete for (drumroll, please) a championship. Or more accurately, George told ESPN the Thunder can win the entire thing.

“There’s an expectation and a level we know we need to play at,” George said. “I definitely think this team has a chance (to win a championship). The reason why I signed back here is because I believed in it. And everybody in here believes. It’s on us, we’ve got our work cut out and it’s not going to be easy, but we’re up for it.”

George, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder traded off Carmelo Anthony, but considering Anthony’s performance last season, that may not be such a bad thing.

Minus Anthony, and the fact George re-signed in free agency, the Thunder are free of speculation and perhaps maybe even a little drama from last season. George wasn’t supposed to return, of course. He was supposed to go to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Remember that?

Well, forget it, because George has re-upped for the long haul and indicated the decision was never really in doubt.

“For me, it comes to direction,” George told ESPN. “There’s no unsureness, no second-guessing what’s going on. I’m here; I’m committed, I’m part of this team. And now that’s all I can focus on, is getting better, trying to win games and ultimately winning a championship here.”

“I think for the past two or three years, there’s always been speculations or people deciding what my future should be,” he said. “I know where I’m at and the world knows where I’m at. So yeah, in a sense I can go back to just playing ball and enjoying the game.”