With free agency in the NBA just starting, talk has been swirling over who would and would not be moving on from their current teams. One player that will not be headed elsewhere is Paul George, who has decided to stay in Oklahoma City to play for the Thunder for a while longer. The former Indiana Pacer, who was traded to OKC about a year ago and had the option to move on after just the one season, announced he’ll be staying put at a party hosted by Russell Westbrook last night.
According to sources, the deal will run four years and is a max deal for $137 million. While that looks, and certainly is, eye watering, he could have made even more money had he decided to go with a two year deal that could have seen him rake in $30 million more. However, given his previous injuries it’s thought that he wanted to protect himself long term, and saw this as the best way to do just that. He would go on to post a picture with the aforementioned Westbrook on Instagram, proclaiming that the pair had unfinished business together.
This is a huge, huge deal in the free agent market already due to the fact that the Thunder have beaten out the Los Angeles Lakers for a player that is from L.A. Most believed George would be headed home this off season to begin an attempt by the Purple and Gold at building their own juggernaut. Now, though, he has chosen to stay in the OKC and has thrown a wrench in the plans of Magic Johnson and the Lakers. Now, they’ll have to look somewhere else if they are to bring in players that will swing the eyes of LeBron James and the likes toward them.
It’s also a major signing because it reiterates that the NBA is no longer about going to a huge city anymore. New York and Los Angeles used to be the two destinations every big name had to go to. Now, it’s just not like that. George is staying in Oklahoma, not thought to be a sexy place, with a team that weren’t great last season. LeBron has had two stints in Cleveland, a town not known for its glamour. This all goes to show it’s going to be an interesting summer, and that Los Angeles might not have the drawing power it thinks it does any longer.