Priority No. 1 for the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason following their disappointing first-round playoff exit is coaxing Paul George, a free agent-to-be this summer, to re-sign with the team.
Likely to opt out of the final year of his contract, George will undeniably have plenty of suitors as an unrestricted free agent, and the buzz about him being West Coast-bound could wind up being very real. But following the Thunder’s loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 6 on Friday, the 27-year-old didn’t rule out the potential of re-upping with OKC and running it back in 2018.
“There was a lot to be happy about: the fans, the city, the organization,” George said. “Everything has been unbelievable. It’s too soon. I’d love to remain a Thunder, but that’s what this summer is for. We’ll address that in the summer.”
George is near the top of the free agent want list for teams this summer, joining LeBron James, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant who are also slated to be unrestricted. Though he remained noncommittal, he spoke highly of his season-long experience in Oklahoma City.
“It was an amazing season,” said George. “Really, a learning experience playing off of [Westbrook], playing off of [Anthony]. [Steven Adams]. Seeing what the potential was like having [Roberson] out there. It was great.”
When the Thunder traded for George and put him alongside Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to form a Big Three, they had high hopes. But the 2017-18 experiment, and a first-round exit could make his decision to leave, should he opt to go that route, easier to swallow.