When the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis last summer, it was widely assumed that George was a one-year rental. He had all but publicly stated that he intended to sign with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers the following year, and Oklahoma City isn’t quite as enticing a place to live as L.A.
The Thunder are hoping that they can convince George to stick around next summer, and have made him, along with Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook, unavailable in trade talks, reports Sam Amick of USA Today:
“This is a very savvy, smart organization,” George told USA TODAY Sports about the Thunder, who have deemed George, Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams untouchable in trade talks. “They understand that they’re about winning, and some things take time. I don’t think when they brought us together, it was something…(where) they thought this was going to be a team that was (winning) 60, 70 (games). I think they knew it was going to be an adjustment, us three coming together.
Per Amick, if George does stay in OKC, his relationship with Westbrook will be the reason why:
By all accounts, though, it’s George’s fast connection with Westbrook that has everything to do with his perspective on the Oklahoma City experience. He raves about Westbrook’s competitiveness on the court, lauds his loyalty off it, and talks openly about spending his prime alongside the reigning MVP.