One year ago, this would have seemed impossible. Paul George wanted out of Indiana and his people were telling anyone and everyone he’s only going to re-sign with the Lakers. The Thunder took a chance they could win him over with their culture and Russell Westbrook.
For more than a week now, the buzz around the league had been George was leaning heavily toward re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers and Sixers wanted to talk, but the gamble the Thunder took a year ago that they could win George over seemed to be paying off.
Paul George is going to stay with Oklahoma City.
That player option is going to be after three years — a year later than expected, when he would have 10 years of service and can get a bump from 30 percent to 35 percent of the salary cap. However, for a guy who has been through a severe injury before, those extra years of security just in case matter. He gave the Thunder a break.
Russell Westbrook was part of winning George over, and threw a big party at his house tonight — 500 guests and NAS performing — to celebrate it all.
George didn’t even give the Lakers a meeting. That speaks to the job the Thunder organization did in being professional and convincing him OKC is where he wanted to be in the past year. (It also could give teams thinking about getting in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes something to think about, but that’s another matter.)
The Thunder and the state of Oklahoma are partying tonight.
That hangover and the bill will come due, however. With Westbrook and now Paul under new contracts, Carmelo Anthony opting in ($27.8 million) and a new deal for Jermi Grant, things are going to get expensive. Like “the Lakers and Knicks would balk” expensive. Like pushing $300 million expensive.