Lakers Rumors: Westbrook extension will push Paul George to LA

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21: Paul George (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21: Paul George (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

With Russell Westbrook committing to the Thunder long-term, Paul George may be looking to stay in OKC. However, if anything, this only extends the Lakers rumors.

Right now, the Los Angeles Lakers may want nothing to do with Paul George. The team was fined $500 thousand for alleged tampering with the superstar before he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. George has been the biggest target within the Lakers rumors, stemming back to the beginning of last season.

With ties to Los Angeles, and now playing in his second small market, the move to the Lakers made sense for George. George even sat down with Sports Illustrated and expressed his potential interest in playing for his home town Lakers.

"“People saying I want to come here, who doesn’t want to play for their hometown? That’s a dream come true, if you’re a kid growing up on the outskirts of L.A., to be the man in your city. But it’s definitely been overstated. For me, it’s all about winning.”"

That last sentence is the most concerning for Laker fans. For George, he wants to win; something that was not all that common in Indiana the last few seasons. In Oklahoma City, George was brought in alongside MVP Russell Westbrook – and following a trade with the New York Knicks – the team also showcases Carmelo Anthony in the starting five.

The Lakers certainly are making their efforts to make this winning culture a reality. Los Angeles traded D’Angelo Russell because he was not deemed a leader. With the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, LA picked their new leader in Lonzo Ball.

In that same trade for Russell the team effectively cleared cap space as well. With the latest Lakers rumors implying that more moves are yet to come, the Lakers could add to their $40 million in free space next season.

$40 million is enough for Paul George. $60 million, well, that is enough for several superstars.

Another wrench has been thrown into this hypothetical Paul George homecoming; Russell Westbrook’s extension. Westbrook recently signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension with the Thunder. With a player option for the last season on contract, the Thunder have locked Westbrook down for at least five more seasons.

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If George meshes well with his new superstar teammates this could be a bad sign for the Lakers. Instead of taking a risk by going back home, the smarter choice for George may be to stay in Oklahoma City to win. With both him and Westbrook under contract for five or so years, you would think they could win at least one NBA Championship.

Well, it may not be as perfect as it is on paper.

George is coming into an offensive system that is already in place to be solely revolved around Russell Westbrook.

While Westbrook did have to take over the team to have any sort of success, George may not enjoy playing with such a ball dominant guard. Especially with the ball dominant Anthony now on the team, George is going to see reduced looks.

We can talk about how much of a team player George is as well, but, we saw what happened when C.J. Miles took the lost shot in the first game of the NBA Playoffs. Despite being double teamed, George expressed that it was hit shot to take.

While the dream lineup of George, Westbrook and Anthony certainly is great on paper, it may not translate into real world success. This year will serve as a trial, but if George does not like the play of Westbrook, then that contract really will drive him away.

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In that case, the Lakers rumors surrounding George may come true. If Los Angeles can bring in a great center alongside George and the playmaking Ball, well, that could be a whole new contender in the Western Conference.