Paul George on Free Agency: "I Pictured Myself In A Lakers Jersey"

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George grew up a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. More

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George grew up a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. More

Including George but not yet Grant, the Thunder have almost $150 million committed to 10 players under contract for 2018-19, already enough to put Oklahoma City far above the $123.7 million tax line.

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.

George announced his decision at a party in Oklahoma City shortly after Wojnarowski's report.

All the while, though, George continued to profess his love for the Lakers.

This has led to speculation that the Thunder may try to buy out Anthony's contract or try to minimize the damage by stretching it, which would allow Oklahoma City to pay his salary over the next three seasons.

Paul George next team odds: Where could the National Basketball Association star go next?

The first big move of the summer has been made, and it's set up the rest of the free agent period to be even more wild than originally expected.

The 28-year-old had been reported as considering joining his home town Lakers, who remain the favourites to sign James after he opted out of his Cleveland Cavaliers contract.

The Thunder and the state of Oklahoma are partying tonight.

Oklahoma City's Jerami Grant (9) dunks the ball next to Miami's Dwyane Wade (3) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 23, 2018.

A flurry of stories had been circling as free agency approached that Westbrook was going out of his way to make sure George wouldn't leave and that the former Pacers star was strong considering staying in OKC despite interest from the Lakers. Last year, Oklahoma City acquired Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.

Beyond that, the Thunder would likely have to trade rotation players to save money next season. He apparently liked his time in OKC and feels he has unfinished business with Westbrook and his Thunder teammates.

That, plus hopefully getting Andre Roberson back healthy after he suffered a season-ending knee injury back in January, could put the Thunder in position to be a significant factor again in the Western Conference.

The first year after Durant left, Westbrook carried the team on his back and managed to win the league MVP.

The Thunder will soon find out if that's enough to keep him.

"When I first fell in love with the game and I'm outside playing in front of the house, I'm not picturing myself in an in jersey or picturing myself in a Thunder jersey", said George, who played his first seven seasons for the Pacers.

George reportedly told team officials of his decision to opt out.

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