It has been a foregone conclusion for some time now that All-NBA performer Paul George would ultimately end up in Los Angeles with the Lakers once free agency starts this weekend.
Dating back to his days with the Indiana Pacers, George has been eyeing a return to his hometown.
As free agency iself nears, this is no longer a foregone conclusion. Reports surfaced earlier in the offseason that George might ultimately return to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a two-year contract with an opt out after Season 1.
Now, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, this train of thought has taken on a whole new meaning recently.
“He’s become comfortable in Oklahoma City,” Wojnarowski said (h/t Uproxx). “He liked playing for that organization. He really likes Sam Presti the GM, Billy Donovan the coach. He’s really gotten along and enjoyed playing with Russell Westbrook. It takes a while to adjust, playing with Russ. While they were disappointed to get knocked out of the playoffs early against Utah, he can run it back there, make more money in the short run.”
To be clear, a lot of this could have to do with Oklahoma City’s ability to offer him more money than any other team. Though, the uncertainty of the situation in Los Angeles certainly plays a role here.
For Lakers President Magic Johnson and Co., this situation brings out a whole lot of questions. By deciding against sending Indiana an offer for George last summer, the Lakers were hedging their bets that George would ultimately sign with them this year. The team finds itself in the exact same situation with Leonard and the Spurs.
Leonard has reportedly told San Antonio that he plans on signing with Los Angeles next summer. But if the team were to move him to another city, we could very well witness a situation similar to that of George and the Thunder.