NBA Rumor: Paul George Free Agency

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On Thursday’s ESPN episode, Aaron Mintz, George’s agent, laid out contract scenarios for him, including signing with OKC for five years, another team for a maximum of four and signing a “two-plus-one” deal with the Thunder, two years with the option for a third. “If you did a two-plus-one in Oklahoma City and you stayed in Oklahoma City, you’re eligible for a five-year max in two years,” Mintz told George in the episode. “And you hit the market when you’re 30 years old versus hitting it at 32.”

General manager Sam Presti, who gave a rare on-camera interview for the ESPN series, cited a lyric from “Midnight,” a song by rap group A Tribe Called Quest that “scared money don’t make none,” suggesting that only bold moves pay off. “We wouldn’t have traded for Paul George if we didn’t believe in our community, our organizational values, our ownership,” Presti said. “If you expect Paul George or any player to have any confidence in you as an organization, you have to demonstrate it yourself.”

This is something that former NBA big man Ryan Hollins has voiced during a fill-in appearance on the Stephen A. Smith Show on Monday with that George will be in a purple and gold uniform in the 2018-19 season. “But it’s safe to say. Maybe from a little birdy in Ryan Hollins’ ear. Maybe from conversations that I have had. Maybe from my sources that I am pretty much 99.9% sure that Paul George will be a Laker. Unless there is some amazing thing happening. Some miracle of faith. Paul George wants to come home. Paul George wants to be a Laker.”

Paul George will be one of the most sought-after players in the NBA this offseason and where he will play next season and beyond is a hot topic of speculation and conversation heading into the league’s free agency period. SportsCenter will take viewers behind the scenes with the five-time NBA All-Star with exclusive and intimate access during his offseason in “Paul George: My Journey,” a three-part series that will debut in the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on Tuesday, June 26.
2 years ago via ESPN


Even with the Thunder coming just two losses away from missing the playoffs, and then falling to Utah in six games during their first-round matchup, there is all sorts of optimism in Oklahoma City that George will re-sign. Conversely, there’s pessimism in James’ camp that George would leave Oklahoma City. George has raved about the Thunder since the beginning, making it clear to USA TODAY Sports in September that the organization had earned his confidence from the start. “I haven’t even gone through a season yet, and they’ve already proven everything on my check list (that) I can check off,” George said then. “That’s what feels good. That’s what makes me feel like, ‘Hey, this can be a landing spot for me, and somewhere I can call home for years.”

The 21-year-old rookie star of the Utah Jazz – who’s in Manila for the first time – made his recruitment pitch to incoming free agents LeBron James and Paul George in a special press conference at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on Sunday, June 17. “I’ll make [my pitch] to Paul George right now,” said Mitchell. “We want to win, we’re not selfish. If he comes in, it’s gonna make life a lot easier on the offensive end. He’s also a great defender.” “We have talent, we have a crowd that sells out every night,” he continued. “Our coach [Quin Snyder] is probably the Coach of the Year and we have [a] Defensive Player of the Year [candidate in Rudy Gobert].”

“Last summer, they could have acquired Paul George. ” said Adrian Wojnarowski on the Adam Schefter podcast. “I think Paul George wanted to know, ‘if LeBron commits to some years going forward, then I might be willing to commit.’ “When LeBron wasn’t willing to commit to an extension, that told me, they could have had Paul George without losing Kyrie. That’s a very different team: Kyrie Irving, Paul George and LeBron James. “When he wasn’t ready to do that then, Cleveland was worried and rightly so.”

There is a growing belief around the league that Oklahoma City has a far better chance to retain the free agent-to-be Paul George than many believed when the Thunder crashed out of the first round of the playoffs. As George prepares to field the Lakers’ long-anticipated interest, his willingness to post an Instagram picture of himself last month from a hospital bed after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee has helped to fuel the notion in some corners that he’s in no rush to leave OKC.

There is a growing belief around the league that Oklahoma City has a far better chance to retain the free agent-to-be Paul George than many believed when the Thunder crashed out of the first round of the playoffs. As George prepares to field the Lakers’ long-anticipated interest, his willingness to post an Instagram picture of himself last month from a hospital bed after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee has helped to fuel the notion in some corners that he’s in no rush to leave OKC.

The Oklahoma City Thunder remain confident in their odds of re-signing Paul George this offseason. “I think there’s a lot of positivity around it, and I think even around Paul George, there’s a sense he feels like he’s in a good place in Oklahoma City. But things change,” said Shams Charania. “There’s different dominoes that’s going to change over these next few weeks. LeBron James is probably the biggest domino that’s going to drop. Until the league gets ahold of what his aspirations are, Paul George can very well decide to stay in Oklahoma City and not wait for what LeBron James is going to do.”

Despite that, Adrian Wojnarowski reported on ESPN’s “NBA Draft: On the Clock” special that the Oklahoma City Thunder very much remain in contention to re-sign George, while the Houston Rockets will make a strong effort to acquire him: “Like LeBron James, any place he’d tell a team, ‘I’d like to come,’ they’d create salary cap space for him. But, Oklahoma City has done a great job on selling him on a future there. He liked playing with Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams and Billy Donovan. They have a real opportunity to keep him, but the Lakers are home. He grew up in L.A. and when he left Indiana, his plan was that he would be in L.A. in a year. So you have to credit Oklahoma City for really turning his head on that. … And Houston will be aggressive to try to see if there’s a way to get him there.

According to Dean Blevins of New 9 in Oklahoma City, he was told that George’s agent is telling people within the NBA that his client intends to re-sign with the Thunder this summer. Allegedly, apparently, Paul George plans to stay with the Thunder. I know. It’s not what people believe. But in separate conversations, I’m told P.G.’s agent has told people associated with the NBA that P.G. believes the injury loss of Andre Roberson was huge and he’s staying. Disclaimer, though: Believing everything that agents allegedly say can be dangerous to your health.
3 years ago via SLAM

Do the Blazers need Paul George to compliment you and Damian Lillard? CJ: “I already tried to get Paul George once. He already turned us down once. You can only shoot your shot so many times in the DMs before you just have to give up. He left me on red receipt, you know [laughs]. “But nah, he’s a cool dude, and he’s got to do what’s best for his family. He couldn’t control where he went. He ended up getting traded anyway to OKC. “I wish him nothing but the best, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy that California sunshine next season.” (Crowd laughs) CJ: “What? It’s the truth.”

Would you go after Paul George? Kevin Pritchard: “I would want to know first that he would fit us. We’re different now, Dan. One of the things we’re about, we don’t care about big names, we don’t care about big personalities, we don’t care about big brands. What we care about is being humble … Anybody that fits in, yeah we’re interested … I can’t talk on specific players. But if they don’t fit that, I’m not interested. It’s that simple.”

During a Sunday appearance on FOX Sports Radio’s “Chris and Caron,” Bryant cautioned against splitting up the club’s young core in favor of a more expedient return to title contention via free agency, with the likes of LeBron James and Paul George in L.A.’s crosshairs. “If you want to be a dynasty or a team that has longevity, those things take time, and generally are grown from within,” Bryant said (h/t Silver Screen and Roll’s Christian Rivas for the transcription). “You slap a couple All-Stars together, you can maybe win two of three, but eventually players get traded. But if you build a team organically, that dynasty team tends to stay together longer.”
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December 2, 2020 | 5:54 pm EST Update