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Paul George has told the Oklahoma City Thunder he intends to opt out of his upcoming $20.7 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

We probably knew this was happening. Why only take $21 million when you can get $26 million per year? It really makes the most sense, financially for him to opt out. George has until 11:59 p.m EST to officially opt out. There’s always a chance he could opt in. However, that’s not going to happen.

George, who was traded this time last year from the Indiana Pacers, openly spoke about his interest to join the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Russell Westbrook and Sam Presti have done a fantastic job of selling Oklahoma City’s potential to the five-time all-star. Woj is reporting George is more and more comfortable with the Thunder. With a healthy lineup, the Thunder were one of the best teams in the NBA. Injuries derailed a promising season.

What makes the most financial sense is to sign with the Thunder. If George does that, he’s eligible for a five-year, $176 million contract extension on July 1. It’s easily the most money any team can offer him.

It’s highly expected George will sign a 1+1 deal, controlling his own freedom in case things go south. LeBron James started this and it’s becoming a huge trend. It gives players control and the ability to move on if they’re not comfortable.

If George signs with another team, the most he could sign for is four years, $169 million. So, what’s really $7 million in the grand scheme of things.

If it was truly about just winning, George would take a huge pay cut. Go come off the bench and win a ring like the snake did in Golden State. So, it doesn’t make a lot of sense… unless LeBron James goes to Los Angles. Even then it’s questionable whether or not they’d be able to beat the Warriors and the Rockets.

George averaged 21.9 points and 5.7 rebounds while being chosen as an All-star by the coaching staff this season. He shot 40.1 percent from three, second best of his career.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.