On the same day that LeBron James travelling to Los Angeles put Vegas oddmakers in a tizzy, James’ fellow elite free agent Paul George might be making some travel news of his own.
According to a report from ESPN’s Royce Young, George is flying into Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon. While that in itself isn’t too revealing–free agents travel to meet with teams they don’t sign with all the time–the timing of the trip happens to reportedly coincide with a massive party Russell Westbrook is throwing in OKC.
The party details, from ESPN:
Westbrook has organized the party, dubbed a “summer hype house party,” being held at a property near Lake Arcadia. He invited around 500 guests with the promise of a “surprise performance by a multi-platinum artist.
Sources told ESPN that artist is Nas. The invitation says, “The FOMO will be real.” Invited guests were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
The motivation behind the party is presently unknown, whether it’s about free-agency recruitment, an announcement of something or just a summer house party — but the timing is obviously interesting.
While Westbrook’s reason to throw the party is apparently unknown, the guest list certainly seems to suggest the Thunder are using the opportunity to woo George. Multiple members of Oklahoma City’s front office will be in attendance at the party, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Mannix.
Members of OKC’s front office will be at this party, per sources. https://t.co/Wx6FLXP9bR
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) July 1, 2018
The Thunder have spent all year trying to convince George to stay in Oklahoma City rather than head west for Los Angeles. Westbrook’s party might just be the night the front office has been planning for.
Paul George’s free agency status
While many expected George to team up with James and the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason, the Thunder are reportedly holding their own with their star free agent. Coming out the same day as the party was The New York Times’ Marc Stein reporting that George is “strongly considering” a two or three-year deal with the Thunder.
The Paul George forecast for tonight from today's free agency preview column. Is a deal to stay in OKC near for PG13? pic.twitter.com/5Jdo4K7lFK
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 30, 2018
George declined his $20.7 option with the Thunder and entered will soon enter free agency, but that move was widely expected.
The two or three-year term makes sense when you remember that signing a short-term deal now would give George a chance to make even more money in the future through a super-max contract.
Paul George is eligible for a 5-year, $176M deal this summer, but a 1+1 or 2+1 would give him more control over his future. Either would also allow him flexibility to become a free agent in two summers, eligible for a 35% max… But he’d be 30, and starting salary would be ~$40M.
— Albert Nahmad (@AlbertNahmad) June 30, 2018
Another thing that should have Thunder fans excited abut their chances to keep George in Oklahoma, is a tease from the players’ barber, namely that they should be getting ready for some “GREAT NEWS.”
OKC barber with a TL full of high-profile clients says Thunder fans about to get “GREAT NEWS” pic.twitter.com/NFFW9jl5YC
— Sherwob Holmes (@World_Wide_Wob) June 30, 2018
Deep breathes, Thunder fans.
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