Hoop fans, basketball savants, fans, enthusiasts (whichever you prefer). It is over an hour after midnight, free agency is well and truly in full swing and for those anticipating some action, already, the 2018 free agency has delivered.
Whilst Laker Nation still awaits with bated breath the first signal that the purple and gold will be making a return to playoff relevancy and eventually its former glory.
DeAndre Jordan is now reportedly a Dallas Maverick (finally) signing a one year deal worth $24.1 million. Ersan Ilyasova is headed to the Milwaukee Bucks on a 3 year $21 million dollar contract. Whilst Trevor Ariza is heading to the Phoenix Suns on a one year $15 million dollar contract.
Nevertheless, with all of the commotion thus far, Kawhi Leonard and Lebron James have been non-movers. However, despite that, Laker Nation and perhaps your average NBA stan, are very disappointed with Paul George’s decision to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For roughly the last two years, Paul George has been making noise about his about his unhappiness as a Pacer but more notably, his desire to be a Laker. As previously mentioned with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and even Lebron James calling Los Angeles home. Paul George’s return to LA seemed imminent.
Laker nation waxed starry-eyed as they envisioned their return to glory in a manner that would give Hollywood itself a run for their money. Yet, alas, one of their own, Paul George has decided to forego making all of that a reality.
Ironically, the last decision as controversial as this also involved the Oklahoma City Thunder, when Kevin Durant made his “decision” to join Warriors aka the team with the best regular season record in NBA history. At the time and still to this day, KD was criticized for not only joining a historically great team but for doing so after he lost a heart-wrenching game 7 to the Warriors, despite having an initial 3-1 lead.
This time around Paul George is being criticized for staying at OKC because it makes little sense to virtually anyone not named Paul George or Russell Westbrook for that matter.
Firstly, the contract Paul George signed with OKC was tantamount to PG shooting himself in the financial foot. Firstly, PG opted out of the $219 Million super max contract he had on the table with Indiana Pacers because he reportedly wanted to be a Laker. Now by signing for four years and $217 million deal (instead of a two year deal) with OKC PG once again loses more money and loses the 10th year of service bonus he would have been due. Which, in a nutshell, explains why it seems everybody hates Chris, I mean Paul George.
That’s right, everybody, as opposed to just Laker nation. Paul George’s decision not only has Laker Nation feeling messed up, it has NBA fans in general at least somewhat upset too. First of all, there’s the fact the best player in the world, LeBron James, for once looked like he’d be getting notable help.
Thus far the best to ever play alongside Lebron are Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Lebron teaming up with Paul George and potentially Kawhi would allow Lebron entering his 16th year to once again have a crew almost as scary as he is. Sort of like a Space Jam 2, situated right there in LA.
That prospect is infinitely more marketable and appealing to NBA fans across the world than Lebron’s recent teams or the team being amended in Oklahoma.
With the Boston Celtics well and truly on their way and eyeing a finals run next season, the NBA could have had a rebirth of the old Celtics Lakers rivalry. Albeit it with new characters and a 21st-century twist. Moreover, watching PG, and Lebron take on the Warriors would likely excite any NBA fan.
Perhaps the final straw in all of this is that Paul George looks guilty of having cut off his nose to spite his face. Not only has he cost himself money by signing his new contract with OKC, but it is hard to see OKC winning much more than they did last year.
Admittedly, the disappointment felt from waking up from the unrealized Lakers dream could be coloring perceptions of OKC’s potential. Nevertheless, as good as Russell Westbrook is, Lebron just made eight straight finals appearances and is the best player in the world.
So whilst Paul George, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the OKC franchise clearly have some reason to celebrate. At least for now, entirely different emotions are felt regarding Paul George’s decision.