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Paul George Avoids Commenting on Potentially Joining Lakers Amid Rumors

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 27: Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against the Utah Jazz in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Small forward Paul George kept his free-agency plans close to the vest Friday when asked about potentially signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

As George was leaving the Catch restaurant in L.A., a TMZ Sports reporter asked him if it was going to be "his spot" when he signed with the Lakers.

PG-13 responded by saying, "This is my spot," without indicating where he intends to sign.

George opted out of the final year of his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder to become an unrestricted free agent.

Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post reported Thursday that the "prevailing opinion" around the league is that George will re-sign with OKC despite opting out.

The 28-year-old veteran spent the first seven years of his career with the Indiana Pacers before he was traded to the Thunder last offseason.

In his one season with OKC, George averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game, and he was named an All-Star for the fifth time.

Although re-signing with Oklahoma City and continuing to play alongside Russell Westbrook could be tempting for George, he also has longstanding ties to the Lakers.

Last year, Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News reported that during his time with the Pacers, George didn't hide his desire to eventually join the Lakers.

George is a Palmdale, California, native, and he played his college basketball at Fresno State.

The Lakers are a top candidate to sign LeBron James, and they have enough cap space to sign a second star like George as well.

L.A. has also been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about trading for disgruntled small forward Kawhi Leonard, according to ESPN.

George and the NBA's other free agents can begin negotiating with teams Sunday. They can then officially sign contracts July 6.

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