Paul George opts out, but that doesn't mean he's leaving OKC

01 July, 2018, 10:15 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • Paul George

The 28-year-old had been reported as considering joining his home town Los Angeles Lakers.

"When I first fell in love with the game and I'm outside playing in front of the house, I'm not picturing myself in an in jersey or picturing myself in a Thunder jersey", said George, who played his first seven seasons for the Pacers.

Paul George is returning to the Oklahoma City Thunder, getting a ridiculous four-year, $137 million contract to stay put.

Oklahoma City finished with 48 victories and the Western Conference's 4th seed but were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in 6 games in the first round of the playoffs.

"At the end of the day, that's all I want to do, it's like, I want to be a champion", George said.

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Based on this planned OKC barbecue hosted by Westbrook, it sure sounds like George and the Thunder have something cooking on the eve of free agency, and not just burgers and hot dogs.

Paul George was scheduled to announce his decision via a 3-part televised Sportscenter segment, much like Chris Paul did previous year. On each visit to Staples Center to play against the Lakers, George was feted by fans; one even wore a customized Lakers jersey with George's name.

"When I first fell in love with the game, and I'm outside playing in front of the house, I'm not picturing myself playing in an in jersey, or picturing myself in a Thunder jersey", George added. The Pacers instead traded him to the Thunder for a package that included Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. During the past week, George increasingly seemed to be leaning toward staying with the Thunder. However, his year with the Thunder may have been enough to convince him that he can find more success for now with Westbrook in OKC.

Who says stars don't want to play with Westbrook? Now he has left the Clippers after 10 seasons to join Dallas. That deal would save the Thunder more than $30 million in salary and taxes this season, but add about $20 million in 2019-20 salary.

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