Paul George: Kevin Durant, Reggie Jackson endorsed Thunder

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Paul George is openly discussing what could lead him to re-sign with the Thunder or leave for the Lakers in free agency next summer.

It seems the former Pacer is just getting his head around joining Oklahoma City, which surprisingly traded for him amidst much more heavily reported interest from the Celtics, Cavaliers, Rockets and Lakers. But George isn’t joining the Thunder blind.

Kevin Durant and Reggie Jackson, who both left Oklahoma City on poor terms, provided George with perspective.

George, via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:

“KD was like, ‘That place will blow you away,’” George says. “He told me, ‘They can offer what other teams can’t in terms of the people and the preparation and the facility, down to the chefs and the meals.’ He was pretty high on them. He thought it was a first-class organization in every way.”

Jackson, despite his own turbulent exit from the Thunder, told his buddy that he would love it.

The Thunder have built a reputation as a franchise that allows its players focus on basketball and development. The team provides excellent support staff. Media is kept at arm’s length. Oklahoma City, a small market, provides few distractions.

It’s not for everyone, but the environment appeals to many players.

Durant left for a great situation with the Warriors. Jackson became a starter for the Pistons, which never would have happened with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City.

Durant’s and Jackson’s desire to leave the Thunder doesn’t mean they loathed Oklahoma City, and kudos to them for recognizing the bigger picture. Playing for the Thunder helped both before they were ready to move on.

Will Oklahoma City be the right team for George in coming years? Nobody can know yet, but it sounds as if he’s going in with a favorable mindset.