Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Will Paul George make Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder title contenders?

Paul George signs max deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder George hopes to get further in playoffs with the Thunder. Source Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images North America
Domingo Copeland | 01 July, 2018, 10:12

Grant, 24, has become a vital young cog of the Thunder core, a young player that All-Star free agent Paul George has been enthusiastic about Oklahoma City keeping on its roster.

Paul George will be a member of the Thunder for the foreseeable future. This is what George said about the Thunder organization after exit interviews, so it's no wonder why he made a decision to stay in OKC for now.

While Paul George was widely tipped by a number of observers with a move to the Los Angeles Lakers, the second part of his Sportscenter documentary series saw him in talks with Dwyane Wade about how winning a championship is the thing that matters most to him.

George was traded to the Thunder nearly a year ago after telling the Indiana Pacers he would not re-sign with them. Worse yet, Oklahoma City would be paying the tax for the fourth time in five years, meaning falling into the more punitive category of repeat taxpayers. This has already seen them agree to a three-year, $27 million deal to bring back veteran forward Jerami Grant. The trade looked lopsided in favor of the Thunder at the time, but Oladipo's ascendence to All-Star status combined with OKC's up-and-down season evened the scales a bit. Oklahoma City could face the largest tax bill in National Basketball Association history, according to ESPN. Around the league, though, there is skepticism about Oklahoma City's willingness to go quite to this extreme. He spent a little more than two seasons in Philadelphia before he was traded to the Thunder in 2016.

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The Clippers also will soon meet with guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who played for the Lakers last season, an executive said.

Grant was a key reserve for the Thunder last season scoring eight points (on 54 percent shooting) and four rebounds a contest in 20 minutes.

George, who played the first seven seasons of his eight-year career with the Pacers, averaged 21.9 points per game in 79 games last season, above his career average of 18.6.

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