Russell Westbrook surprised many when he signed a huge contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. And based on what Paul George said one day later, that decision could have lasting ramifications as it relates to other high-profile free agents such as himself staying or leaving.
George spoke with reporters on Saturday and made it clear that Westbrook’s commitment to OKC will “absolutely” impact his own decision.
Paul George says Westbrook’s decision will “absolutely” factor into his. “When that time comes, the decision will be easier to make.” pic.twitter.com/eqUyd37oSy
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) September 30, 2017
“We’ve been on an unbelievable start right now…for him to be committed here, it says a lot. Not only in us pairing together, but just knowing what type of dude Russ is, and his values and his beliefs, him being committed to this organization says a lot,” George said.
In addition to making the big trade to land George, the Thunder also traded for Carmelo Anthony this summer. Though they may still be a tier below the Golden State Warriors, there’s no doubt the Thunder have assembled one of the league’s most potent super teams heading into the 2017-18 season.
Whether this is a short-term or long-term deal remains to be seen. George has a player option for the 2018-19 season but is expected to hit free agency. He’s been heavily linked to the Los Angeles Lakers the past year-plus. Though at this time perhaps he feels his best chance to win a championship is in Oklahoma City.
It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens this year and next summer when free agency opens up.