Report: Paul George opts out, becomes unrestricted free agent
NBA.com Global on Jun 28, 2018 07:28 PM
FILE - BOSTON, MA - MARCH 20: Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a dunk against the Boston Celtics on March 20, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
The Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly been informed by All-Star guard Paul George that he will not opt into his contract for next season.
The move, which was reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, will make George an unrestricted free agent. He had until 11:59 p.m. on June 29 to decide whether or not to opt in. Here's more from Wojnarowski on the move and what it means for George, the Thunder and free agency at large:
George, who will decline a $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season, remains seriously interested in returning to the Thunder in free agency, league sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers will receive serious consideration too, sources said.
Several teams, including Philadelphia and Houston, are interested in pursuing George too, league sources said.
Indiana traded George to the Thunder a year ago, where the five-time All-Star forward came to build a strong relationship with All-Star guard Russell Westbrook and averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Before his trade, George had told the Pacers that he planned to sign with the Lakers in free agency this summer. Nevertheless, Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti, coach Billy Donovan and Westbrook have made a strong case on a future with the Thunder and moved the franchise into contention with the Lakers.
George, a native of Southern California, and LeBron James are the focus of the Lakers free agent recruiting efforts.
This summer, George can sign a five-year, $176 million extension with OKC, Wojnarowski reports, or he could do a "one-plus one" deal and return to free agency next summer.
George's decision is not wholly surprising, given that he has been one of the top free-agent targets for many teams all season long.