Paul George‘s staying in Oklahoma City for the foreseeable future. The Thunder forward has reportedly agreed to sign a massive 4-year, $137 million contract once the free agent moratorium is over on July 6.
But for the Thunder, the plan could be to keep George even longer.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder apparently entered into their most recent deal with George expecting him to be able to opt out and then sign another extension after two years.
The money in the deal will vary based off of where the NBA salary cap ends up in the year he signs that future extension, but the real kicker for Oklahoma City is that they could have George for seven more seasons.
This contract, plus a 5-year extension in two seasons time, would take George through his 35th birthday before expiring. That’s huge for the Thunder, who apparently were not scared to offer George his deal and bite the bullet on a skyrocketing salary cap figure.
Aging veteran forward Carmelo Anthony comes off the books after next year, which should give some relief for Oklahoma City. However, moving forward the core of the Thunder will be Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, and George. Those three alone will take up something like $100 million each and every season.
It’s rare to get a star of George’s caliber, either through the draft or through free agency, for a franchise like Oklahoma City. Pulling the trigger on George’s deal(s) isn’t a terrible idea, although it does perhaps feel a bit reactionary after the team lost both Kevin Durant and James Harden.
Many teams out west don’t seem to feel the fear of the Golden State Warriors. Teams are still spending money on their own players and locking down stars despite the general cultural overtone of hopelessness in the face of how good the Warriors are.
Will the Thunder be good enough to knock off the Warriors or Houston Rockets over the next three or four seasons? That’s hard to say, but signing George is announcing OKC’s explicit intention to do so.