Paul George is headed back to Oklahoma City.
George went to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon and made his commitment, then stood on a stage during a party hosted by Russell Westbrook and announced his decision to an adoring crowd. No matter what they do with Anthony, George staying keeps OKC competitive.
Shelburne reports that George potentially staying with the Thunder has thrown a wrench into Los Angeles' plans.
There had been much speculation leading up to the decision that George had been leaning toward re-signing with the Thunder. He was traded to the Thunder previous year from the Indiana Pacers, but declined to exercise his player option with Oklahoma for 2018-19, making him an unrestricted free agent.
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The 76ers were interested in pursuing the five-time National Basketball Association all-star to play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, according to sources. But considering the Thunder would be well north of $25 million over the luxury tax line in that scenario, that would take Oklahoma City's combined payroll and luxury taxes up to roughly $255 million.
He arrived via trade with the Philadelphia 76ers in November 2016 in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova and a 2020 top-20 protected first-round pick.
From Oklahoma City's perspective, this was quite a coup. Oklahoma City could face the largest tax bill in National Basketball Association history, according to ESPN. In a league based on efficiency, George simply is not worth the money Oklahoma City is paying him.
George averaged 18.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.7 steals during his seven seasons in Indiana. The Rockets came within one game of the NBA Finals with him this season, before injury ruled him out of the last 2 games of the Western Conference Finals.