Expectations that Paul George would test free agency are more of a reality now.
George has informed Oklahoma City Thunder personnel he will not opt into the final year of his contract and instead become an unrestricted free agent, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported early Thursday.
It doesn’t come as a big surprise, since George made his intentions known Tuesday on ESPN’s SportsCenter during the first of a three-part series featuring an inside look at his decision.
According to ESPN, George is still “seriously considering” a return to OKC, where his stardom has helped fill some of the void left by Kevin Durant’s departure two seasons ago. George’s relationship with Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has strengthened, and George has expressed unhappiness about his own play down the stretch last season, saying he “left something on the table.”
George joined OKC last offseason in a blockbuster trade with Indiana, but even then there was much suspicion he might only be there for one year before leaving town as a highly touted free agent.
George has until 10:59 p.m. CT Friday — just before midnight on the East Coast — to formally decline to opt in.
The Los Angeles Lakers are also receiving serious consideration from George, according to the report, which also mentioned Philadelphia and Houston as options.