The question has been out there. Where does he go and who does he play for? No, not LeBron James but Paul George. The talented swingman officially did what plenty expected him to do this offseason: opted out of the last year of his deal, becoming a free agent. After almost all of his career in Indiana and then spending last year in Oklahoma City, he finally gets a chance to make a decision on where he wants to play. Plenty had him penciled in for Los Angeles next season, giving Oklahoma City no chance to keep him after last season. And the chances of him staying in Oklahoma City were perceived as very low considering how they exited the playoffs last season. Well, as time has gone on and has he has had ESPN documenting his journey, there are more questions than answers. He has said he dreamed of playing for the hometown Lakers, he has said he loves playing with Russell Westbrook and feels like he did not finish things there, but he has also said he wants to win a title. Many things weigh on his mind as he comes close to making a decision. No one knows what decision he will make, but if I had to take a guess, here is what I believe he will do.
I believe Paul George will sign a two-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder with an option to opt-out after the first year of the deal. If you listen to the words he says, it sounds like he is still thinking long and hard about becoming a Laker. And in all honesty, it may happen, but not right now. It sounds as if he truly had fun playing with Russell Westbrook and he wants to explore what's there. Of course, he could be wrong and pairing himself with Westbrook (and Carmelo Anthony) again could lead them nowhere fast, but it seems like he wants to find out for himself. At the age of 28, he still has time before his peak earning days are over. And although he is a risk by not securing the big bag and taking a plunge back into free agency next offseason, he has said repeatedly that it isn't about the money. George really wants to win a title and that seems to have purposed itself in his career and in his mind. And if he goes to Los Angeles next season and ends up being the centerpiece of that team, he will be no closer to winning a title than he was in Oklahoma City. At least in Oklahoma City, he has another bigtime star to balance things out with. Now if Oklahoma City could finally balance out their offense, things would be better. Folks want to blame Russell there, but that is more on the shoulders of Billy Donovan and not Westbrook.
As far as his Los Angeles dreams, he can still have them. As many can see, the Lakers have a lot of possibilities happening. The talk of LeBron James coming there has been deafening. Along with the talk of James, there has also been ongoing talk about the unhappiness of Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio and his desire to be in Los Angeles. Both situations are fluid at this point in time and there is no certainty that either comes to Los Angeles. Leonard's presence would involve him getting traded there and the Lakers parting ways with a good bit of their young talent. And as far as LeBron James, him coming there could make other players expendable even though they are talented and could become great players. If neither come, then George is almost back to his familiar role with the Pacers in being the focal point. If one or both come, then they have title aspirations. Seems like a lot of plates that are spinning at the same time and we don't know when one will drop.
Paul George has definitely brought the bright lights to his decision now. Many don't even see him coming back to Oklahoma City after doing all this for his decision. While he may move on, the general feeling received from him speaking is he wants to go back for one more season of madness in Oklahoma City. The suspense of what happens should be fun to keep up with.