Report: Paul George to opt out of contract with Thunder, become free agent
George will decline a $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season, and while the Thunder remain intent on signing him to a long-term deal, the Los Angeles Lakers pose a problem as George’s other potential choice.
George requested a trade from the Indiana Pacers last season, as his camp pulled a stunt, telling teams around the league that if they tried trading for George, he would be nothing but a “one-year rental,” with no intentions of re-signing anywhere other than with his hometown Lakers.
Things have changed in a year’s span, with the 6-foot-9 forward developing a friendship with co-star Russell Westbrook, which leads to him giving the Thunder serious consideration, despite a relatively quick exit in the first round of the playoffs.
George is eligible to sign a five-year, $176 million contract extension with the Thunder this offseason — though that is a rather less likely scenario than a shorter contract that could give him more control over his future.
The Palmdale native could do a “one-plus-one” deal and revisit free agency next summer, allowing him to further test this team’s potential over the course of the 2018-19 season. George will become a 10-year veteran by 2020, making him eligible to sign a four-year, $169 million maximum contract with any team with the cap space to absorb it.