NBA

Paul George 'would love to remain a Thunder' but Oklahoma City's core could be one-and-done

Jay Asser 23:40 28/04/2018
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Paul George could be leaving Oklahoma City in the summer.

After being eliminated by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs, the Oklahoma City Thunder are facing a grim scenario.

There’s a chance their assembled core of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony could be broken up this summer, just one year after coming together.

It will all hinge on George, who will hit free agency in the offseason and have his choice of cities to join, including his hometown Los Angeles Lakers who he’s been linked with even before the Indiana Pacers traded him to Oklahoma City.

While the five-time All-Star didn’t unequivocally state he would return to the Thunder next season after the Game 6 loss to Utah on Friday, George did speak highly of the franchise and his desire to stay.

“It was an amazing season. really a learning experience, playing off Russ, playing off ‘Melo, seeing what potential is like,” George said.

“It was great, a lot to be happy about. The fans, the city, and the organisation have been unbelievable. I would love to remain a Thunder but that’s what this summer is for, so we’ll address that this summer.”

If Game 6 was George’s last outing in a Thunder uniform, it will be noteworthy for a few reasons.

For one, he struggled immensely by scoring just five points on 2-of-16 shooting. And secondly, it was the Westbrook show as the guard attempted 43 field goal attempts.

Westbrook has earned a reputation for being a difficult teammate to play with, but George spoke positively about his season next to the reigning MVP. “It was an amazing season,” he said. “Really, a learning experience playing off of [Westbrook], playing off of [Anthony]. [Steven Adams]. Seeing what the potential was like having [Roberson] out there. It was great.”

George’s comments were also in stark contrast to what he said after what would be his final game with the Pacers, when a reporter asked about his interest in returning: “It ain’t even at that point, Bob. Next question.”

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