With three games left and just three games separating the 5-10 seeds in the Western Conference, the Thunder will try to secure a playoff spot in the next few days. Playoff appearance or not, Paul George will be one of the NBA’s premier free agents this summer, and his decision will likely impact the rest of the market.
George was traded this past offseason from the Pacers to the Thunder, forming what was expected to be a formidable threesome alongside Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. While Westbrook has been his usual stellar self, Anthony — and even George — has endured struggles. While a strong run into the postseason and beyond could change things, George appears to be set on exploring his options.
George spoke to reporters, including Erik Horne of The Oklahoman, about his upcoming free agency, potentially recruiting more talent to the Thunder and his impressions of the organization after one season.
On whether or not he can see himself staying in Oklahoma City:
“As I told [ESPN’s] Rachel [Nichols], I can see myself being here. I’ve been happy here, I’ve been happy with the organization, happy with my teammates. Our record is not what we want it to be, but I think I’ve enjoyed just learning and being around these guys. So my answer is still the same. I’m not going to let the playoffs or how we finish this season persuade or indicate where I’m going to this offseason. I’m going to put everything into this and again, I can definitely see myself being here.”
On possibly recruiting players to Oklahoma City:
“You’ve got to look at what we can be, imagine what we would be if Andre [Roberson] was here playing with now. You’ve got to look at the team coming back, with free agency coming up with other guys who we could possibly go grab and who could we, myself, Melo, Russ, who can we recruit with us here.”
On his first season with the Thunder:
“It was just an opportunity to see what it’s like being here and just to naturally fall in love with it. And it’s been that. It’s been a lot of love here. This is our first year together. This is Year 1 for this group. We’ve got a chance to win it all, but realistically it takes time for things to build and chemistry to mesh … just for everybody to be on the same page.”