Paul George Says He Likes Playing with LeBron James in TMZ Interview

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, drives past Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Paul George isn't ready to reveal his summer plans just yet, but he did tell TMZ Sports at Tuesday's Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am in Los Angeles that he's enjoyed playing with LeBron James when they've been paired together on All-Star teams.

"I like playing with [James]," George said. "It was fun playing with him All-Star Weekend."

There probably isn't much to read into those comments. For one, it's hard to imagine many players out there—outside of perhaps Kyrie Irving—who wouldn't enjoy playing with James. For another, even if George didn't enjoy playing with the Cavs star, it's unlikely he'd say so, especially ahead of a summer where they could end up paired on a new team. 

George's future remains uncertain. While he seems likely to opt out of his $20.7 million contract option for the 2018-19 season and become a free agent, he could opt into that deal to facilitate a potential trade to another team, such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, who don't have the cap space to sign both him and James outright.

If George plans to return to OKC or sign elsewhere, however, he'll opt out. There will be no shortage of teams interested in acquiring him, with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, the up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers and the loaded Houston Rockets leading the pack as three of his more intriguing options. 

But the Lakers have long been the front-runners, given his hometown ties and their abundance of cap space this summer.

"I'm from L.A. I can say I love L.A. because I'm from L.A," George told TMZ Sports.

Adding George and James to a young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma would be intriguing, though the Lakers could also look to package those young talents in a trade for another veteran star. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported earlier in June (h/t Sagar Trika of Blazers Edge) that George and James will discuss teaming up in Los Angeles this summer. So it appears to be a distinct possibility. But George will have a lot of options, and this offseason promises to be another intriguing one for NBA fans.

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