Russell Westbrook: Thunder FA Pitch to Paul George Will Be Winning Championship

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DECEMBER 18: Paul George #13 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder react during the game against the Denver Nuggets on December 18, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook is confident the results will speak for themselves when it comes to selling Paul George on the idea of re-signing with the team in the offseason. 

"Sales pitch gonna be when we win a championship," Westbrook said Wednesday, per NBC Los Angeles' Shahan Ahmed. "Beat that pitch."

When the time comes, Westbrook will likely take a more active role in lobbying on the Thunder's behalf to keep George in Oklahoma City.

While his attempts were ultimately unsuccessful, Westbrook met with Kevin Durant at a restaurant in Los Angeles while Durant was a free agent, according to ESPN The Magazine. Westbrook was joined by teammate Nick Collison and Thunder assistant Royal Ivey and apparently "[asked] Durant what he could do differently" to get the eight-time All-Star to stay.

Of course, the circumstances behind George's impending free agency are much different compared to when Durant was weighing his future.

Durant had spent his entire career with the team, and there seemed a strong chance he'd re-sign with the Thunder. George, on the other hand, is in his first season with Oklahoma City, and Adrian Wojnarowski reported for The Vertical in June some inside the NBA believe George will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

George openly discussed Tuesday how he attempted to engineer a trade to the Lakers from the Indiana Pacers, which does little to dispel the notion he's destined to move to Los Angeles, per the Oklahoman's Erik Horne (via RealGM):

"There wasn't a 'Hey, gunpoint to the head, send me here.' I just stated it was somewhere I wanted to go play. You ask 80, 70 percent of guys in the league if they would love to go back home and play for their city, play for their home. That's all I stated that I would have loved to go back home and played for my city. No regrets. No regrets at all. I thought this trade that went down was a win-win for both sides and I’m happy for both of them."

George also had high praise for Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

"As far as being a basketball player, at his age, he's one of the best basketball players that has played this game," he said Wednesday, per Ahmed. "He has a knack to play the game the right way."

Even if George hasn't basically made up his mind about whether he'll re-sign with the Thunder, counting on winning a championship may be risky for Westbrook. Oklahoma City is fifth in the Western Conference (20-17) and would be big underdogs against the Golden State Warriors in a playoff matchup.

Plus, Los Angeles is still at least another two or three years away from seriously challenging the Warriors. The opportunity to win a title right away in 2019 may not factor all that much in George's final decision if he's considering the Lakers as a serious contender. 

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