Paul George keeping an open mind with Thunder future

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Two

Paul George is preparing for the next chapter in his career after being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the final year of his contract. 

The Indiana Pacers had trouble finding a trade that gave the franchise the value they wanted in return for their star player, bogged down by the fact that rumors of George having his heart set on the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018 were as strong as they've ever been. 

The Thunder took a swing at Paul, trading Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to gamble on the potential of what could be a dominant duo with Russell Westbrook. George can walk as a free agent next summer, but Oklahoma City is hoping they can compel him to stay. 

George spoke with Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated about his future with the Thunder and wouldn't rule out staying in the plains of Oklahoma. Westbrook is a compelling partner, and success can be had together. 

“For me, it’s all about winning. I want to be in a good system, a good team. I want a shot to win it. I’m not a stats guy. I’m playing this game to win and build a legacy of winning. I’ve yet to do that. I’m searching for it. If we get a killer season in Oklahoma, we make the conference finals or upset the Warriors or do something crazy, I’d be dumb to want to leave that," George said.

That's a huge statement, and one that should have Thunder fans excited about what could be one of the most important seasons for the franchise in years. Not only can George walk, but so can Westbrook, which means the team is at a make or break point come summer. 

Oklahoma City Thunder v Indiana Pacers

As for George's constantly-reporter preference to join the Lakers, he believes it's been "overstated" how badly he wants to wear the purple and gold. 

"I grew up a Lakers and a Clippers fan. I idolized Kobe. There will always be a tie here, a connection here. 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," George told Jenkins. 

The return the Pacers received for George says otherwise, but it's not unreasonable to believe Paul is going into his career with the Thunder with an open mind and fellow superstar to rope him in long-term. There's a re-assuring batch of quotes from PG13 for the franchise. 

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