Paul George was acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade with the Indiana Pacers last summer, with the Thunder sending out Victor Oladipo and Domantis Sabonis in return.
With the transaction, the Thunder were finally able to pair a star next to reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. After the team traded for New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony soon after, many thought the newest superteam had blossomed in Oklahoma City. However, after a first-round exit to the Utah Jazz capped off an uninspiring season, their newest star could be on his way out.
According to ESPN radio host Ryan Russillo, the All-Star forward is as good as gone from the team that acquired him less than a year ago:
“Today is the first time I’ve heard from anybody that I trust that George is gone.
I don’t know where. It’s a ‘He’s gone’ deal.
I heard (ESPN reporter) Royce Young say George thinks he’s leaning toward staying. George made it seem in the press conference after Game 6 that he genuinely was torn and maybe even wanted to stay…
I’m skeptical of sharing it because […] all of us watching (the press conference) are like, ‘Why would you even come back to this thing?’
And I was like, Where is he going then? And (the source) was like, ‘All we know is that he’s gone.’ […]
I know what Royce Young said, and I saw that coverage of it. Royce is fantastic and he would know better than I because he’s there.
But Paul George also is somebody who knows what to say. I wouldn’t trust anything he says.”
Obviously, only time will tell if this speculation has any traction, but it would undoubtedly be a massively disappointing ending to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s ‘Big Three’ experiment, especially after the unexpected success of Oladipo and Sabonis this past season.