Report: Thunder have better chance to re-sign George than many think

Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Paul George is widely expected to decline his $20.7 million player option for next season and enter free agency, and he will be pursued by a few teams.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers will all go after George, while the Thunder internally have maintained that their main focus this summer is to re-sign George.

For the last two years, all we have heard is that George is intent on going home and playing for the Lakers. Los Angeles has cap space to sign two max contract players, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and George will discuss teaming up in LA.

After the Thunder lost to the Utah Jazz in the first-round of the playoffs, many surmised there was no way George would go back to OKC since the club underwhelmed. But according to a report from the New York Times, that might not be the case anymore.

Via Marc Stein:

“There is a growing belief around the league that Oklahoma City has a far better chance to retain the free agent-to-be Paul George than many believed when the Thunder crashed out of the first round of the playoffs. As George prepares to field the Lakers’ long-anticipated interest, his willingness to post an Instagram picture of himself last month from a hospital bed after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee has helped to fuel the notion in some corners that he’s in no rush to leave OKC.”

As Stein mentions, George underwent a scope procedure on his left knee on May 9, but will likely return to offseason basketball activities at some point between June 20 and July 4.

This past season, George averaged 21.9 points for the Thunder while shooting 43.0 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from beyond the arc.

In the six-game series versus Utah, George put up 24.7 points per contest, but went out on a sour note, scoring a mere five points on 2-of-16 shooting in the Game 6 loss.

3 Comments on "Report: Thunder have better chance to re-sign George than many think"

  1. George is closer to contending in OKC than anywhere he can go. With 2 allstars, Adams and Melo and that’s not a contender? Apart from players buying in, they need someone (coach or player) who knows how to win a chip. Maybe LeBron finds a way to OKC

    • Totally agree. If his only mission is to get to LA, then he’s obviously not concerned about winning — unless he gets LeBron, DeMarcus Cousins and Chris Paul to join him. But I don’t know there’s any guarantee that even that lineup would beat the Warriors. And they’d all be playing for less.

      • I think Paul George is probably legitimately concerned about his financial security at this point, and that security is in OKC. He’s already had a devastating leg injury in his career, and now the scope (as Windhorst likes to say, ‘there’s no such thing as minor knee surgery). For a guy that depends on his ability to stop on a dime and explode off either leg to recover to be an elite defender, which is where at least 50% of his value lies, I think that’s a little scary.

        Whether he thinks the difference in salary and years is more important than going to LA or playing on a better contender, though, is where it gets tricky for a guy who was so close to the finals earlier in his career and hasn’t been to the 2nd round in a while. But let’s be honest, OKC is miles away from really competing with GSW. Melo pretty much said he’s picking up his option, but not going to accept the role they need him to play, and he hasn’t been an all-star caliber player in years. Andre Roberson still can’t shoot and is coming off a major knee injury. Russ is still Russ. And they aren’t very deep.

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