The news broke early on June 28th that Paul George will not opt into the final year of his contract. While he still has another 24 hours to change his mind, it seems as if this is what he will do.
Paul George is a smart man, and opting out of his contract is the right business move to make. This allows George to make significantly more money over the course of the next few years.
Many people have been quick to jump to the conclusion that this means he will be leaving Oklahoma City. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. Pretty much everyone in the NBA including the front office for the Thunder expected this to happen. Opting out of his contract simply gives George more options. It does not mean that he is 100% leaving OKC.
It’s clear that George wants to play for a contender. That being said, he isn’t going to bring down the Golden State Warriors no matter where he goes. Having that in the back of his mind might give Oklahoma City an advantage during free agency.
Paul George will be set to make $176 million if he signs a five-year max contract with the Thunder. If he chooses to leave, a five-year max anywhere else will only be worth $130 million. The $46 million difference there might be enough for George to decide to stay with the Thunder and ride it out until the Warriors have split apart and another team can reign over the NBA.
The difference between PG's max contract options is enormous 😳 pic.twitter.com/1EPCYJVjps
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 28, 2018
The odds of PG-13 beating the Warriors is slim no matter where he lands in free agency. Perhaps he is still young enough to get his guaranteed money now with the Thunder while staying in a position to be a contender for the title.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @thethunderguys on Twitter and Instagram.