George has informed Oklahoma City Thunder personnel he will not opt into the final year of his contract and instead become an unrestricted free agent, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported early Thursday.
It doesn’t come as a big surprise, since George made his intentions known Tuesday on ESPN’s SportsCenter during the first of a three-part series featuring an inside look at his decision.
According to ESPN, George is still “seriously considering” a return to OKC, where his stardom has helped fill some of the void left by Kevin Durant’s departure two seasons ago. George’s relationship with Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has strengthened, and George has expressed unhappiness about his own play down the stretch last season, saying he “left something on the table.”
George joined OKC last offseason in a blockbuster trade with Indiana, but even then there was much suspicion he might only be there for one year before leaving town as a highly touted free agent.
The Los Angeles Lakers are also receiving serious consideration from George, according to the report, which also mentioned Philadelphia and Houston as options.
The 28-year-old five-time All-Star averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and two steals for the Thunder this past season after being traded by the Indiana Pacers.
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George, is among the marquee players to hit free agency this summer, which is also expected to include LeBron James.
The five-time All-Star is eligible to sign a five-year, $176 million with the Thunder, but could go for a shorter contract with more control over his future.
He was traded to Oklahoma City from the Pacers a year ago after he told Indiana that he planned to sign with the Lakers this summer.
George could also decide to ink a “one-plus-one” contract that would allow him to sign with a team for a year and return to free agency again in 2020, when he would be eligible for a four-year, $169 million max contract.
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