Paul George Rumors: Rockets High on Star, Lakers Still Favorites

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2018

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) during Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder n Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

If the Houston Rockets don't land LeBron James, they may already have another target in mind.

Kelly Iko of Rockets Wire reported Wednesday that Houston has interest in signing Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George in free agency. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey reportedly pursued George via trade last summer before the Indiana Pacers sent him to Oklahoma City, per Iko.

George, 28, is likely the best obtainable free agent on the market other than James. Kevin Durant seems destined to stay with the Golden State Warriors, and Chris Paul is almost certain to re-sign with the Rockets after coming within a game of the NBA Finals for the first time in his career.

James and George are the major dominoes that could potentially swing the championship chase, though their desires on the open market could be different. LeBron will almost certainly go to whichever team best suits his pursuit of more titles. Houston, Philadelphia or staying in Cleveland have been among the front-runners for months, according to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer.

George, on the other hand, has long been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers. He grew up nearby in Palmdale and has been open about the appeal of playing in Los Angeles.

"I would say almost everybody in this league would love to play at home," George told reporters at his exit interview. "I won't say that's a lie. Everybody would love to play for their home in one way or another, but that won't be the only option for why I want to go somewhere, is because it's home. Not at all."

The Thunder will go all-in on re-signing George this summer, and they will likely offer him a five-year max. He showed a camaraderie with Russell Westbrook during his first season with the team, and Oklahoma City appeared to be peaking before Andre Roberson's season-ending patellar injury threw the team out of whack. 

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