Paul George told reporters Saturday that Russell Westbrook's decision to ink a five-year, $205 million extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder will make his decision in free agency next summer "easier."
"It says a lot," George said, per ESPN.com's Royce Young. "Just knowing what type of dude Russ is, and his values and his beliefs and him being committed to this organization, it says a lot. And I'm one person that's enjoying it here. I think when that time comes, the decision will be easier."
George's remarks in their entirety can be heard below:
Royce Young @royceyoung
Paul George says Westbrook’s decision will “absolutely” factor into his. “When that time comes, the decision will be easier to make.” https://t.co/eqUyd37oSy2017-9-30 18:48:11
George has yet to suit up for the Thunder, but he's sounded open to re-signing with Oklahoma City since he arrived in a July 6 trade with the Indiana Pacers.
"For me, it's all about winning," George told Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins in July. "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."
It's easy to make projections based on how OKC looks on paper, but for now the Thunder check the boxes George referred to of being a good team that has a shot of making noise in the Western Conference.
That's especially true after they traded Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick to the New York Knicks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony.
Speaking of Anthony, a quality season from the Thunder that validates their title-caliber credentials stands to strengthen the probability he returns to the club.
If Anthony ultimately chooses to go that route, he will have several options, including exercising his $27.9 million player option for the 2018-19 campaign.
But should Anthony seek long-term security that keeps him in the fold alongside Westbrook and possibly George, he could aim to negotiate a multiyear deal at a rate that's slightly more palatable to OKC's front office.
Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com.