Lakers in play as Paul George opts out of Oklahoma

JR Isaga
The All-Star forward becomes an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his final year of contract with the Thunder

 

NEXT MOVE. Paul George is linked strongly to signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images/AFP   

MANILA, Philippines – Days after Carmelo Anthony opted in to his $27.9 million player option and stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder, another cog of the OKC “Big 3” is heading out the door.

All-Star forward Paul George has declined his $20.7 million player option from the Thunder and is now an unrestricted free agent, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Sources on ESPN: Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George informs franchise that he is not opting into final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent. <a href=”https://t.co/skRquzhnjb”>https://t.co/skRquzhnjb</a></p>&mdash; Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) <a href=”https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1012286572178362370?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 28, 2018</a></blockquote>
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That means that the Los Angeles Lakers are finally in play to snag him up, after years of links to him. And the team and its rabid fanbase are going all in:

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>&quot;When you were just a kid <br>In your room<br>Dreaming from Palmdale<br>We were dreaming too.&quot;<br><br>The Lakers wrote a voiceover pitch to get Paul George to come to LA, per <a href=”https://twitter.com/robinlundberg?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@robinlundberg</a> <a href=”https://t.co/bHrKv9xRpq”>https://t.co/bHrKv9xRpq</a> <a href=”https://t.co/TcG5u6BpFp”>pic.twitter.com/TcG5u6BpFp</a></p>&mdash; Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1011302264621936640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 25, 2018</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Attorney and Lakers season ticket holder Jacob Emrani, who put up 4 billboards recruiting LeBron in March, has paid for over 40 billboards for Paul George. There are six different designs, all have the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PG2LA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PG2LA</a> with three designs including LeBron with George. Here’s one billboard: <a href=”https://t.co/xHoHaItlqC”>pic.twitter.com/xHoHaItlqC</a></p>&mdash; Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) <a href=”https://twitter.com/NotoriousOHM/status/1011339884353556480?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 25, 2018</a></blockquote>
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However, if Slam Dunk Champion Donovan Mitchell has any say on the matter, he’s doing all he can to recruit the former Indiana Pacers star to his Utah Jazz.

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But according to ESPN’s Royce Young, “PG” going to the Lakers means launching a domino effect that could see Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James and disgruntled San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard also donning the iconic purple and gold.

“It feels like Paul George is not going to make a decision completely independent of LeBron’s decision,” he said. “If LeBron goes to the Lakers and he goes first then you have to be sitting there with all eyes towards Paul George.”

Leonard, who has also been linked to the two stars, is just around the corner for a trade.

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The Lakers re-engaged the Spurs Wednesday in trade talks for Kawhi Leonard. According to sources, a deal for Leonard would likely clinch a commitment from LeBron James. <a href=”https://t.co/K41C8q5I9z”>https://t.co/K41C8q5I9z</a></p>&mdash; SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) <a href=”https://twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/1012164533660602368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 28, 2018</a></blockquote>
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 The Spurs reengaging in talks with a Western Conference rival came just days after they explicitly said that they’d only deal with teams from the East.

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Headed East? Apparently, Kawhi Leonard will be if he doesn’t work things out with <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Spurs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Spurs</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NBA</a> <a href=”https://t.co/BoAIRkXGax”>https://t.co/BoAIRkXGax</a></p>&mdash; Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) <a href=”https://twitter.com/AmicoHoops/status/1010682612304826368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 24, 2018</a></blockquote>
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With PG opting out of OKC, the first shot has been fired. Time will tell if Hollywood will indeed be in his stars. – Rappler.com