It has been known for a while now that Paul George wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, as early this summer he let the Indiana Pacers know that when he becomes a free agent in 2018 he intends to sign with Los Angeles.
That led to the Pacers trading George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, teaming him up with the reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook.
The move was a bit surprising for OKC, as George is not committed to them long-term and could be gone in a year. But it also could help sway Westbrook, who could also hit free agency in 2018, to sign the supermax extension that has been on the table for him all summer.
Westbrook has until the start of the season to sign the extension, but if he doesn’t Ramona Shelburne of ESPN is reporting that it is possible that both he and George leave for L.A. next summer as the Lakers have enough cap space to sign two max free agents:
“There’s a gigantic elephant in the room, which is that Paul George is from LA, Russell Westbrook’s from LA, they’re going to be playing together. If they want to stay together they can just come to the Lakers, they can just come to the Clippers. The what ifs, the dominoes that start falling if he does not sign that contract extension by the start of the regular season. Media day comes up next week, I think it’s the 25th out there in Oklahoma. That is going to be the question. If it’s not the first question, the reporters out there aren’t doing their job. So If he hasn’t signed that extension by media day next week, this now becomes the topic of conversation in the entire league.”
While George and Westbrook teaming up in Los Angeles seems like a possibility, there is still a full season for them to be played in Oklahoma City, and if they compete for a championship they might not want to leave.
Another factor in the equation is LeBron James, who has also been rumored to possibly join the Lakers next summer. It was recently reported that James would love to team up with Westbrook and L.A. might be the only place to do that.
The possibilities currently seem endless for the Lakers and their front office, but right now it is just a waiting game to see how the upcoming season plays out before anything can be done. The first domino to fall will be if Westbrook signs that extension with OKC before the start of the season.