Russell Westbrook’s five-year extension with the Thunder appears to be delivering immediate dividends: Thunder forward Paul George said Saturday that his teammate’s long-term commitment would ‘absolutely’ be a factor in his own decision process next summer.
George will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018, and with Westbrook in place and Carmelo Anthony in the fold, the Thunder have assembled a starry top three. Westbrook signed an extension worth $205 million on Friday.
"We've been on an unbelievable start right now, and for him to be committed here, it says a lot," George told reporters. "Not only in us pairing together, but just knowing what type of dude Russ is and his values and his beliefs and him being committed to this organization says a lot. And I'm one person that's enjoying it here, so I think when that time comes, the decision will be easier to make for myself."
George was traded to the Thunder from the Indiana Pacers after he informed the team he planned to leave in free agency, with his hometown L.A. Lakers seen as the presumptive favorite for his services. But the potential to remain alongside Westbrook and Anthony could prove to be a difference-maker. Anthony can opt out of his contract next summer, and when asked Saturday opted not to discuss his long-term future.
"I'm gonna tell you right now, I'm not even answering those questions," Anthony said. "I don't even want to touch those questions right now. I don't even want to alter my focus and my vision right now, being in training camp and trying to get things rolling, trying to establish/re-establish something here."