The Oklahoma City Thunder haven’t exactly played up to their or anybody else’s expectation thus far at 22-18 through 40 games.
It has taken some time for the Thunder to effectively integrate their two star additions from the 2017 off-season: Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.
While both are set to be free agents in the 2018 off-season, much of the focus has been on the younger and more productive superstar at this point in Paul George.
George has made his desire to play for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers more than apparent multiple times over the past year. Because of this many have wondered if the Thunder would use George as a trading chip before the deadline because of their struggles and the fear that he could walk for nothing in free agency.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, that will not be the case.
Here is an excerpt from Woj’s piece:
“For now, the Thunder are fully committed to playing out the season with impending free agent Paul George. They still have hope that a strong run in the playoffs could convince him to re-sign in Oklahoma City. Nevertheless, the Lakers were the team to beat when the Thunder made the trade, and that probably hasn’t changed — although Oklahoma City has made a favorable impression on George and ultimately hopes to turn George with a deep playoff run. George has remained open-minded on a Thunder future, but there’s a long way to go.”
George seems genuinely open to staying with the Thunder long-term with his comments in the media and hints that his decision will likely depend on how much success they have this year, as he told David Aldridge of NBA.com:
“Like I said, at the end of the day, only I would know, in terms of what’s the right move in terms of where we place, where we finish, how I feel, together,” George said Thursday, per NBA.com’s David Aldridge. “I’m not going to leave a team where…at the end of the day, all I wanted was to win. That’s what I wanted in Indiana; I wanted to win, and win at a high level.
“So I will determine that once this season is up. I like what we have here. I love this locker room, I love this organization. They’ve been unbelievable. Teaming up with Russ has been unbelievable. I think everybody knows where, ultimately, I stated where I wanted to play. But at the same time, I’m putting all that aside. I’m happy where I’m at. I’m happy with this situation.”
My feeling is that all of the drama surrounding the Lakers will help push George to decide to re-up with the Thunder for the time being, unless LeBron decides he wants to move west of course…