Posts Tagged ‘#PaulGeorge’

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Paul George appears to have spurned the Los Angeles Lakers and agreed to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency, and that may be because of the relationships he built in OKC over the past year.

One relationship, in particular.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Saturday that a rival executive believes Russell Westbrook played a role in George’s decision: “This is a friendship decision to stay in OKC as much as anything.”

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That goes along with what George said early on in his Thunder career last year, when he revealed to reporters that Westbrook signing a five-year extension with Oklahoma City would “absolutely” make his free-agent decision “easier”:

George echoed those sentiments back in January when he was getting Westbrook’s support for an All-Star campaign, via ESPN.com’s Royce Young: “Russ is the reason why this decision is becoming even more easier to make, is the character Russ [has]. A stand-up guy, and he has his teammate’s back.”

Knowing all of that, it should come as no surprise that George announced his return with Westbrook by his side at a “summer hype house party” that the point guard hosted, per Young.

Paul George is set to become one of the most highly coveted free agents this summer. Several teams are expected to be in pursuit of the superstar, and after the way things ended this season with the Thunder, there is reason to believe he could be on the move. 

Here are the four best destinations for George:

Philadelphia 76ers

If Playoff P wants to become Finals P he needs to become a 76er. If George is your best player, the chances of winning a title are slim to none, but as a third option on a team like this, the chances are no longer slim. Even as the C-option, George may turn out to be the one they go to late in games until (if ever) Ben Simmons develops a jump shot.

The 76ers should be one of, if not the favorite, to win the East next season, and with George they can own the conference for years. The Big 3 in Oklahoma City was a failed experiment; George, Simmons, and Joel Embiid could become the most unguardable Big 3 in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers 

The Lakers have always felt like the ideal fit for George since he made it clear that he would “love” to play for his hometown team and listed the Lakers as a place he wanted to be traded to last summer.

Whether he would be joined by LeBron James or not, the purple and gold would be a natural fit for George. Without LeBron, it would be the return of the Indiana PG13 as the primary scoring option. With LeBron, George will get the opportunity to compete for championships.

Going home is one thing, playing with a pass-first point guard in Lonzo Ball and a young talented roster is another. Oh, and it is Los Angeles.

San Antonio Spurs

This move will require several moving parts, but with Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs severely damaged, this trade scenario could satisfy all sides. If George is willing to commit to a sign-and-trade, a deal that involves the Spurs and Leonard is ideal. The Spurs can provide him with the best coach in the NBA, an unmatched system, and a ticket to be Batman on the River Walk.

Unless Leonard’s injury is career-threating, what better return can the Thunder receive? Even if the Thunder cannot get Leonard to sign an extension on their end, they have shown before they have no problem renting and hoping.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Of course, resigning with the Thunder cannot be ruled out. After all, the Thunder do own George’s Bird Rights and can potentially offer him a five-year deal worth $207.4 million. Along with the most money, familiarity, and minimal pressure, the Thunder’s GM Sam Presti has proven to be one of the best in the business. If Presti has both George and Russell Westbrook locked up, the smart money is on him providing them with a more than reasonable supporting cast.

The issue, however, is that Westbrook is difficult to play with on the court and the Thunder cannot even think about a championship as long as Carmelo Anthony is around.

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