The arrival of Paul George has signaled a renewed intrigue around the Thunder organization. Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook once again has a superstar partner as Oklahoma City chases an NBA title. The vacancy left by Kevin Durant has been filled temporarily but George teased being a permanent staple for the club.
As Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes, George spoke at his introductory presser about the possibility of remaining with the Thunder beyond the 2017/18 campaign if his first season goes smoothly.
“I could come here and love it, as I have been loving it here,” George said. “Both myself and Russell, if we love where we’re at and we feel we can do something special here, I’m open to it.”
George and his new teammate Westbrook could both hit free agency next season. The California native George is expected to pursue joining the Lakers at some point — despite claiming his interest is overstated — and the former UCLA product Westbrook could follow him there. However, George teasing another dynamic duo in Oklahoma City less than two years after Durant left the city for greener pastures may be a cruel tease of what may never occur.
Below are additional notes surrounding the Thunder:
- While it was clear that George was on the trading block, he was surprised to see himself land with the Thunder, ESPN’s Royce Young writes. While team’s such as the Cavaliers, Rockets, Lakers, and others were mentioned as possible destinations, George noted that joining Westbrook made the trade worthwhile.
- In other George news, Young, in a separate piece for ESPN, and Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, both wrote up compelling features on George’s first day in Oklahoma City.
- After signing a three-year, $30MM with the Thunder, Andre Roberson is happy to be back with the team. While he possibly missed out on more money by signing an offer sheet elsewhere as a restricted free agent, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes that Roberson realizes sacrifice comes with being in a special place.
- The Thunder and Semaj Christon have agreed to move 2014 second round pick’s guarantee date back to the end of training camp, per Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript (via Twitter).