Paul George Declining Player Option

Paul George has informed the Thunder that he’ll turn down his player option for 2018/19 and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The move had long been anticipated. While it might make sense in some cases for veterans to opt into the final year of their contracts, George’s $20,703,384 option salary is far below his projected $30MM+ maximum salary, so picking up the option would have made little financial sense.

Additionally, the Lakers and Thunder are widely considered the frontrunners to land George. Los Angeles will have the cap space to sign George outright, while Oklahoma City has his Bird rights and can go over the cap to sign him. As such, exercising the option to facilitate a trade was always a long shot for the star forward.

While the Lakers and Thunder are the most serious contenders for George, the Rockets and Sixers are interested in pursuing him too, sources tell Wojnarowski. The Cavaliers were also previously said to be interested in George. However, his option decision will make it tricky for over-the-cap teams like Houston and Cleveland to land him, since those teams don’t have easy paths to cap room, and a sign-and-trade deal would only be permitted if they’re willing to remain below the tax apron ($6MM above the tax line) all season.

George is eligible to sign a five-year contract worth a projected $175MM+ with the Thunder this offseason, or a four-year deal worth approximately $130MM with a rival suitor like the Lakers. The five-time All-Star may ultimately sign a one-plus-one contract (a two-year deal with a player option) though, since doing so would allow him to reach free agency again in 2019, when the cap is projected to increase to $108MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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32 thoughts on “Paul George Declining Player Option

  1. bennyg

    I have no doubt NBA players are entitled to it, but sometimes you’ve got to stop and wonder how greed plays apart in a players decision.
    “Oh it’ll set him and his family up for life”…. What, the original $20m cannot do that either?!


      You say that from a fan perspective. If you was PG I guarantee you you would be doing the same.

      • bennyg

        Being in that situation I can only dream of. Who knows the answer.
        So yes, obviously I am saying it from a fans perspective. And yes, why not take it from a players perspective. If you’re entitled to it, why not. I’d change my own work contract if it meant I was entitled to more money – but millions compared to 1 or 2 or 5 thousand is a different story.

    • Sky14

      When a business owner makes a move that makes them more money, it’s a savvy business decision. When an athlete does it, it’s greed.

      Why would anyone opt-in for $20 million when opting out can get you $100+ million?

    • PG13 was playing paintball with Russ Westbrook a week after the season ended. He’s said there’s no one he’d rather play with than Westbrook.

      • GoldenJabs

        No one cares about who PG13 would rather play paintball with……lol

      • knickscavsfan

        With a max contract I’m sure PG would have no problem building the ultimate paintball course and flying Westbrook in on a private jet to play with.

    • I give no fox

      Sometimes you need to wonder how people come to such a conclusion to call it greed. There are a number of instances where a player has taken less to stay where they are comfortable, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki come to mind but there are others. It’s not like PG has some tie to OKC. They traded for him and he has been there one season, why should he opt in and leave $10 MILLION on the table. And it’s not like that money isn’t lining someone’s pocket regardless. PG opts in and the owner gets to pocket $10+ million depending on luxury tax. Personally, i would rather it go to the player than the owner

    • knickscavsfan

      $20 mil minus a likely 30-50% tax rate, sports agent %, business manager % and a whole lot of other people waiting for their cut too. Plus, who’s to say that he’ll ever get a anywhere near that kind of money once his career is over by age 35-40 and he has, hopefully, another 40-50 years of life left? True, $20 mil is more than most of us will ever earn in perhaps, 2, 3, or 4 generations of family. Him opting out to put himself in a position to get a max contract isn’t greedy. He earned that right. I have no problem with the top stars getting the top money. What I do think is wacky is when a good player like a Mike Conley or Paul Milsap get $30-$35 mil and guys like Durant have to be mindful of what they accept to accommodate the team affording their other players.

        • He’s doing a 2 year with an opt out after the first year. Carmelo is an unrestricted free agent after next season, so taking a one year him and Westbrook could look for someone to replace him. With it being 4 years since the tv revenue went up, their will be a lot of free agents.

    • Brad

      Was thinking this too until I watched his thing on ESPN. He loved it until they traded everyone away while he was hurt. He got sour because they made moves without filling him in first. 65% chance he stays in OKC.

      • It was David West’s fault they had to retool. He gave up $12 million with the Pacers to go to the Spurs for the minimum. Charlotte outbid the Pacers for Lance Stephenson. Hibbert was shipped to the Lakers for a future 2nd round pick. George Hill was sent out a year later for Jeff Teague. This is what I talk about when I say LeBron didn’t play anybody. This is the team Miami was playing for the Eastern Conference Championship. My goodness!

    • I don’t think he’s allowed back in Indiana. George said on his twitter after the Pacers released Lance Stephenson, “And they called me the bad guy.” Meaning he wanted out and they let Stephenson go.

  2. all in ad

    PG is a snake. 30 days before he stabbed the pacers, he told fans at an event “I am a pacer”. He will tube OKC…went to Fresno state….not the sharpest knife in the drawer. LBJ needs his shoes shined in LA. He is not worth 20….much less 30….hope the fakers waste their money.

  3. lal77

    He is crazy if he goes back to OKC to play with Russ n that your turn my turn offense. No movement on offense. When you don’t have the ball you’re relegated to being just a spot up shooter.

  4. norcullo

    I still see him going to the Lakers ultimately, but that extra 40 mil is definitely on his mind.. at the end of the day it’s where he want to live because I think he makes some of that 40 back through extra endorsements coming from LA

    • ac106

      You think so? In LA he is 1 player among 6 professional sports teams and countless celebrities.

      In OKC he is pretty much the 2nd most famous person in the state.

  5. He’ll stay in OKC. I have no idea about LeBron, but I’d think the Lakers. Demarcus will stay in New Orleans because they love University of Kentucky guys. CP3 stays in Houston. DeAndre to Dallas. Kemba stays put. Kawhi depends on how much Danny Ainge is willing to offer.

  6. pihc

    Seen taking his kids through Akron schools. Seen surfing in the Caribbean with the King. Been sitting in the stands at the looking at the ceiling for hours at a time. Seen fishing off pier 13 looking for trophy carp.

    Never mind.

    • Hang in there! You’ll know in another week. He’s already told his sponsors.

  7. cesc

    Indiana shouldn’t be lucky enough to get PG13 back. He ain’t greedy just a pro providing for his family, this is a business, a show biz first & PG13 is a very good player, so he deserves his money. I totally agree don’t mind stars making 30+MM/year, more annoyed when players like Milsapp or Mike “who is that guy?” Conley make that money. They are average to good players. But everybody pays to watch the stars, so they should be paid for it.

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