Paul George essentially forced his way out of Oklahoma City a year after assuring Thunder fans he was “here to stay,” and that has led to speculation that his relationship with Russell Westbrook deteriorated over the past season. That was apparently not the case.
After ESPN analyst Jalen Rose tweeted, “I am not accepting any Westbrook slander,” George retweeted and seconded Rose’s comment:
At all ? RT @JalenRose: I am not accepting any Westbrook slander!!!!
— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) July 6, 2019
I am not accepting any Westbrook slander!!!!
— Jalen Rose (@JalenRose) July 6, 2019
George finished third in the NBA MVP voting last season after averaging 28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game. The combination of George and Westbrook failed to get the Thunder out of the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season, however.
It appears George simply wanted out because he had an opportunity to play with Kawhi Leonard, as Young also noted that the Thunder were completely blindsided by the request.
The Thunder were able to secure a massive haul of draft picks from the Los Angeles Clippers in the George trade, and general manager Sam Presti deserves credit for using the Toronto Raptors as leverage to get the best deal possible. Now, the question becomes what he will do with Westbrook.
Westbrook has now lost Kevin Durant and George as his running mates in recent years. Will the Thunder build around Westbrook, or will they eventually trade him and signal a full rebuild? Only time will tell, but the clock is ticking in OKC.