Russell Westbrook planted his flag in Oklahoma City – again — Friday, and for the next six seasons he will be a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Next summer, free agent Paul George will have his own decision to make as a free agent. He said Saturday that Westbrook committing to the franchise — along with the welcome and synergy he has felt so far in OKC — “absolutely” will impact his decision. Via Royce Young of ESPN.
“We’ve been on an unbelievable start right now, and for him to be committed here, it says a lot,” George said. “Not only in us pairing together, but just knowing what type of dude Russ is and his values and his beliefs and him being committed to this organization says a lot. And I’m one person that’s enjoying it here, so I think when that time comes, the decision will be easier to make for myself.”
Lakers fans just got a little queasy.
George’s camp made no secret of his desire to go to his hometown Lakers next summer when PG was on the trade block, but the Thunder were one of the few organizations that not only got in on the bidding but thought they could have a chance to keep him. Westbrook is a big part of that, both on and off the court. So is Thunder ownership, who would have have to commit to a massive tax bill to keep the entire team together.
George is saying the right things and keeping his options open, and most league sources I have talked to still think he’s Los Angeles bound — but it’s less certain than it was. If George and Westbrook mesh, and if the Thunder win (reaching the Conference Finals is not out of the question), then maybe he will decide to plant his flag in OKC, too.