Paul George, Russell Westbrook Friendship Factor in PG Choosing Thunder

Paul George, Russell Westbrook Friendship Factor in PG Choosing Thunder

Paul George, Russell Westbrook Friendship Factor in PG Choosing Thunder

The bonanza started Saturday night when Durant made a decision to sign a two-year, $61.5 million deal with the stay with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, one where he'll make $30.5 million this season.

Under NBA rules, contracts can not be finalized until Friday but news about player plans began circulating quickly once the period for conversations began. The deal comes with a player option for 2019-20, so Durant can - and likely will - become a free agent again next summer.

Over the last week the Thunder have spent almost $200 million on Carmelo Anthony (not their choice), PG13 (four-year $137 million "max deal") and Grant who received a three-year $27 million contract with a player-option in the final year of the contract, per National Basketball Association guru Adrian Wojarowski.

The 28-year-old George was traded to Oklahoma City last July, with the Pacers receiving Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in return.

George averaged 21.9 points on 43.0 percent shooting from the field and 40.1 percent shooting from the three-point line, adding 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game. A big reason for the shock around the league is that Westbrook was able to play a big role in convincing George to stay as opposed to going to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.

The once-prolific scorer for Denver and NY was nothing more than an average starter alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George on the Thunder. Since James has a home in Los Angeles and many business interests here, it was presumed the Lakers were a front-runner for his services, should he decide to leave his Cleveland Cavaliers home. Then came the terms of George's deal.

Paul George is staying put in Oklahoma City.

The Lakers seemed intent on landing two max players this summer, but they absolutely won by not landing George for $30-plus million a year. Those three alone will take up something like $100 million each and every season. Talks heated up during the past week, but there was no deal in place amid speculation that Leonard could be headed to Los Angeles, but to the Clippers rather than the Lakers.

Should the Houston Rockets consider trading for Carmelo Anthony?

Anthony informed the Thunder last week that he did not plan on opting out of his $27,928,140 player option for next season. That's hard to say, but signing George is announcing OKC's explicit intention to do so.

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