Paul George agreed to re-sign in Oklahoma City on the first night of free agency in what would’ve been a stunning decision months ago, but was the expected outcome after recent reports all pointed to him remaining with the Thunder.
George made his announcement on stage at Russell Westbrook’s house party, alerting the crowd that he would be staying in OKC for a long time. The only question about George’s new deal was how long it would be for, with most anticipating a two or three-year deal with a player option for the final year.
Instead, George agreed to a four-year deal with the Thunder with a player option for the final year, committing to be in OKC for at least three more years and earning $137 million in the process. While that’s a lot of money, it’s an awful lot less than he could’ve made had he remained with the Pacers this past season and it wasn’t in L.A., where everyone expected him to be.
When the details of George’s contract hit the good folks on ESPN’s The Jump with Rachel Nichols, it led Brian Windhorst to have an incredible reaction on live television, including him making this immediately meme-able face of disbelief.
He proceeded to explain exactly why George inking this long of a deal was so stunning and, to him, such a poor decision from George given the circumstances.
Windhorst makes a lot of valid points, but if there’s one thing we’ve clearly learned about this is that, while he would like to eventually get to L.A., George has become very happy in Oklahoma City. It’s stunning considering all indications for over a year were that he’d push his way to the Lakers, but something clicked for him with the Thunder. He also enjoys the company of Russell Westbrook, which isn’t always the case for Russ’ teammates, and if there were ever doubts a star player would actively choose to play with Westbrook, we know the answer now.
All that said, taking a four-year deal still doesn’t make much sense at all, as Windhorst explained. Even if George planned on staying, a two-year deal would’ve allowed him to hit the market with 10 years of service and hit that 30 percent max under a cap that’s expected to jump to $116 million, which would be a significant raise over this contract. George chose the security over the potential future raise, which is his choice, but plenty of people have questions like Windy.