Paul George was one of the many big names moved this summer, and he’s not looking beyond this upcoming season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Back in July, the Indiana Pacers traded George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. It was a steal, to say the least, but it was also puzzling given the four-time All-Star’s plans to move out West. He made it very clear he wants to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. However, George isn’t as bold with his proclamations.
“We’ll see,” said George to Showtime’s Jim Gray. “I’m a Thunder, and my job is to give them the best I have this year and see what happens after that.”
George, an L.A. Native, is one of the two superstars the Lakers are looking to sign next summer. The Pacers moved him for such a lackluster package because they couldn’t get anything else, and multiple deals with the Cleveland Cavaliers were reported but never came to fruition.
Oklahoma City inherited George’s salary of $19.5 million, and the 27-year-old is likely to opt-out next summer.
Last year, in 75 games with the Pacers, PG put up 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists while boasting a true shooting percentage of 58.7. After seeing Russell Westbrook burn out in the playoffs this past year, trading for George was an incredible move, and the reigning MVP now has someone to shoulder the load. Moreover, they got him for almost nothing.
Once Magic Johnson took the Lakers’ front office job, his first goal was bringing them back to what they used to be; in the last four campaigns, they’ve had win totals of 27, 21, 17 and 26. Magic drafted Lonzo Ball second overall in the 2017 draft and was able to shed Timofey Mozgov‘s contract in a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, who also got D’Angelo Russell.
Signing two stars — with LeBron James potentially being one of them — requires a boat load of cap room, and that means finding someone to take on Luol Deng‘s egregious contract. Luckily, almost everyone is available; Brandon Ingram is the only untouchable.
Despite the rumors and mid-season remarks about the organization, George has an undying love for Indiana, “I grew up there, I became a man there, a lot of obstacles I overcame there, and they had my back,” said George. “I love Indiana.”
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