Paul George opts out of contract, becomes unrestricted free agent

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George has informed Thunder officials he'll decline the $20.7 million player option on the final year of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency July 1, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday, citing league sources.

Part one of Paul George's three-part series that follows his free agency process aired tonight on SportsCenter.

Many have assumed for years that Paul George is destined to end up with the Los Angeles Lakers, and that could very well come to fruition this summer.

Ahead of his pending free agency, an apparent Lakers recruiting pitch was leaked to Sports Illustrated's Robin Lundberg and it features a voiceover the Lakers plan on using with video. Nevertheless, Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti, coach Billy Donovan and Westbrook have made a strong case on a future with the Thunder and moved the franchise into contention with the Lakers.

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard are targets for Los Angeles. "A lot is playing into this, so it's a bit overwhelming". Acquired by the team in a trade with the Indiana Pacers, George averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 79 games this season for the Thunder.

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George did not make as big of an impact as expected in his first season with the Thunder, and his last game of the year was arguably his worst.

The 34-year-old Anthony had been the headliner his entire career - he's 19th in National Basketball Association history with 25,417 points - but he was more of a catch-and-shoot scorer last season instead of the isolation specialist he had always been.

"Here they have made a huge risk in trading for me, knowing I have one year on my deal", George said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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