Paul George says he won’t tell Thunder before trade deadline if he plans to leave

AP Photo/Chris Szagola

Last summer, Paul George told the Pacers he planned to leave in 2018 free agency.

So, they traded him to the Thunder.

Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:

If George concludes that his Oklahoma City experience will be one-and-done, will he be inclined to give the Thunder the same kind of heads up?

“Well, I think this is a different scenario because it’s our only year together as far as we’re on one-year contracts,” George told Bleacher Report. “I want to put everything into this and see where that takes us. I’m not giving up; I’m not giving in. I want to give this thing everything I have and we’ll see where it goes.”

“We all enjoy playing with one another,” George told B/R. “This could possibly be me being here for multiple years. But … I’m not going to just throw it in and be like, ‘No, I’m done with this.’ We’ve got a long, long, long season ahead of us. And I’m committed to that.”

Remember, George doesn’t have a no-trade clause. The Thunder can unilaterally trade him no matter what he says or wants.

They can see the writing on the wall. This team is underachieving, and that just opens the door for George to leave next summer.

But potential trade partners can also read the situation, including the threat of George signing with the Lakers next summer. He still has value as a rental, and there’s a non-zero chance his Bird Rights are useful in re-signing him. So, there’d be a market, just maybe not one as robust as Oklahoma City hopes.

The Thunder are talented with George, Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams and Carmelo Anthony. They just haven’t developed enough chemistry yet. That process will take time, likely beyond the trade deadline.

Their best bet is probably keeping George and hoping for the best. But if they consider flipping him before the deadline, they’ll be operating in the dark.