All throughout much of the last several months, the Los Angeles Lakers had been perceived as the frontrunners to land All-Star forward Paul George in free agency. There has been a growing notion that his tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder could be a one-year stay.
However, Chris Haynes of ESPN stated in an interview on Thursday afternoon that George returning to the Thunder next season is still a likely scenario to unfold over the summer.
“They don’t want to hear this around this neck of the woods… Somebody recently close with Paul were telling me they wouldn’t be surprised if he re-signed.”
– @ChrisBHaynes on Paul George potentially coming to LA
— ESPNLosAngeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) May 11, 2018
This isn’t entirely surprising given that George had continued to speak quite highly of his experience with the Thunder over this past season. He has also praised All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook for the type of teammate he has been since the two joined forces last summer. This alone has made returning to Oklahoma City a realistic scenario to unfold in the coming months.
Meanwhile, it doesn’t rule out or silence the real interest that George has for joining the Lakers that has been long rumored since last offseason with him leaving the door open about the possibility playing back home for the organization. If anything, this latest dialogue further clouds what George will do with his free agency decision.
Los Angeles has spent the last several months positioning themselves to possibly land George and another top-tier talent over the offseason by moving nearly towards being able to offer two max contracts. This could be quite appealing for him to join the team alongside another top talent in the league while playing with a young promising core group of players that showed much promise last season.
There is still plenty of time until George has to make a decision on free agency where things could pick up as it nears the June 29 deadline where he has to make the decision if he wants to opt out of the final year of his five-year, $91.5 million deal to enter the open market. Simply put, there could be much more to come on this front in the coming months