Paul George Free Agency

After one up and down season with the Thunder, Paul George has a $20.7 million option to stay in Oklahoma City for 2018-19. With 8 years of service, George is eligible to sign a maximum extension of 4-years, $136.5 million with the Thunder or any other team. This contract would start at $30.3 million next year and put PG13 into the top-10 highest paid players in the NBA. It seems likely that other teams, such as his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, will offer the max, leaving the Thunder to decide just how far they want to go with this “OK3” experiment.

George had an effective season amidst all the inconsistency in Oklahoma City, accounting for 8.9 Win Shares and a .148 WSP48, while recording 2,891 minutes (9th most in NBA). His Win Share was 20th best in the League–the 20th salary spot is occupied by Anthony Davis at $25.5 million next season. Davis had the 4th most Win Shares at 13.7 and top-10 WSP48 of .241. Al Horford currently sits 10th in the NBA with a $28.9 million salary, and his numbers (7.8WS, .165WSP48) compare favorably for George.

For the Thunder executives, a better comparable would be George’s teammate, Steven Adams (OK4?). In his 5th season, the Kiwi recorded 9.7 Win Shares and .187 WSP48. Both of these marks are ahead of George, and even if both players are improving, Adams is 3 years younger. If George is willing to accept less than the max to stay with the Thunder, it might make sense to align him with the remaining years on Adams’s contract, and adding a fourth year to make it 4-years and about $106.7 million, starting off at $24.2 million next season. Of course, it may prove difficult for George to pass up a max offer somewhere else and this will put the Thunder front office in a tight spot to keep a very important piece for this team at a reasonable deal to enable them to add bench pieces. George is valued at slightly under the max, but will most likely receiving more than one max offer this summer if he decides to opt out.