Paul George 'commits' to Thunder despite Lakers free agency interest - National Basketball Association insider

Paul George opts out, but that doesn't mean he's leaving OKC

During one of Oklahoma City's trips to Los Angeles, Westbrook was asked if he felt that the season was a sales pitch to George.

George is believed to have given consideration to the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the Thunder.

The Thunder weren't done early Sunday morning, as they also re-signed forward Jerami Grant to a three-year, $27 million deal, according to ESPN. It was thought for a long time that George and fellow free agent star LeBron James could head to the Lakers together.

With George in the fold, the Thunder have $147 million committed to 10 players. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll be leaving the Thunder per se, but it does make it seem like the Lakers are a more likely fit for him in the 2018-19 season and beyond. Around the league, though, there is skepticism about Oklahoma City's willingness to go quite to this extreme. The Thunder also got Carmello Anthony in an attempt to provide Thunder superstar and 2016-2017 MVP Russell Westbrook with the pieces he needed to win a championship with the small market team. That deal would save the Thunder more than $30 million in salary and taxes this season, but add about $20 million in 2019-20 salary.

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ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, on The Dan Patrick Show Friday, actually said that signs are "pointing to" George staying in Oklahoma City.

He broke out in his third season with the Pacers, averaging 17.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists while helping the Pacers become one of the best defenses in the association.

That, plus hopefully getting Andre Roberson back healthy after he suffered a season-ending knee injury back in January, could put the Thunder in position to be a significant factor again in the Western Conference.

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