2018 NBA Free Agency: Paul George opts out of contract, set for unrestricted free agency

Oklahoma City Thunder wingman Paul George officially opted out of his contract early Thursday morning, setting him up for unrestricted free agency, first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Unsurprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers will be one of a handful of teams interested in George’s services next season.

George, who will decline a $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season, remains seriously interested in returning to the Thunder in free agency, league sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers will receive serious consideration too, sources said.

Several teams, including Philadelphia and Houston, are interested in pursuing George too, league sources said.

This is one of the final turns in a long, winding path between Paul George and the Lakers. Starting roughly 12 months ago, George sought out a trade to Los Angeles while then with the Indiana Pacers. Since then, a barrage of reports, rumors and even comments from George himself have seemingly indicated that the All-Star had Los Angeles in his sights this summer.

In recent weeks, optimism has grown around the Thunder organization that the team could retain George.

However, with the Lakers still likely to get into the room with George this summer, anything remains in play for Los Angeles as they also are actively pursuing a trade for Kawhi Leonard and the free agent acquisition of LeBron James.

It all adds up to what will certainly be a stressful, yet exciting upcoming week of free agency.

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