What Paul George opting out means for LeBron, Kawhi

Tanya Simon
July 1, 2018

Paul George will opt-out of the final year of his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder and will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

George is eligible to sign a five-year contract extension worth $176 million with the Thunder this summer. He could also sign a two-year deal with OKC that includes a player option in Year 2, allowing him to kick the free-agency can down the road one year before doing it all over again in 2019, should he choose.

Paul George signing with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer has always been viewed as an inevitability, but on the eve of free agency, it appears as though there is a real possibility he remains in OKC.

Although the Thunder were ultimately eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz, it allowed George to develop a relationship with Russell Westbrook and the organization.

He spent last season in Oklahoma City after being traded there from Indiana.

George is also strongly considering the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.

There is little surprise in this move from George, particularly in that his $20.7 million salary would be far less than he could command on the open market.

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George had until Friday night to make the decision on his option year.

"In a way it's like, I want to come here (Los Angeles), I want to play for the home team and put a Laker jersey on".

The question then becomes, are the Thunder or the Lakers better equipped to give George an opportunity to play for a championship?

It's that time of year where the National Basketball Association gets wild and unpredictable: free agency.

"They honestly check the boxes where I needed those boxes to be checked from what a player wants and needs out of a front office, out of a medical group, out of teammates, out of a coaching staff", George said. Trading for Kawhi could be postponed as they have seven more months to pull that off.

This is definitely the biggest indication that the 28-year-old is likely to stay with the Thunder next season. "They checked the boxes on what needs to be checked".

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