Paul George was involved in one of the biggest NBA trade blockbusters we've seen in some time this past summer but George could very well be on the move again in 2018 NBA free agency, and his top landing spot remains the Los Angeles Lakers.
No doubt, the Thunder's chances of re-signing George shot up this past week when Russell Westbrook committed to Oklahoma City for the longterm. Westbrook himself was being rumored to join LeBron James with the Lakers in 2018, but the reigning MVP ended that discussion. George will obviously get to know Westbrook - a fellow Los Angeles native - much better over the next seven months and Westbrook may very well be able to convince George that spending the prime of his career in middle America is the way to go. George has already said that he'll hear the Thunder out next summer.
Right now, the Thunder is a much more stable franchise than the Lakers. OKC now has a concrete future with Westbrook in the fold long-term. The Lakers do not yet have LeBron James in the mix, though the rumors have not quieted down at all.
That said, we've seen super-teams come together quickly - like in the span of days - in the past. Chris Bosh joined the Miami Heat on a Tuesday in 2010, and 48 hours later LeBron joined the South Beach party.
More than ever before in the NBA, players talk - and LeBron and George will surely have conversations about their respective futures whenever they meet up over the next few months.
Make no mistake, George loves the Lakers franchise - so much so that he's flat-out told teammates before that LA is where he wants to be.
"A SoCal native, [George] has been talking about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers, for a long time," The Sporting News' Mitch Lawrence wrote last April "He's never made his long-term intentions a secret within the Pacers' locker room, according to former teammates. He wants to wear the purple and gold."
Of course, the situation George finds himself in right now is a much better one than he was in six months ago in Indy. If the Thunder were to take the Warriors to six or seven games in a playoff series next spring and George got a taste of being so close to a title, would he want to run it back with Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in OKC? Or would he want to join forces with - still - the best player in basketball in LeBron in his hometown of Los Angeles?
These questions won't be answered for months, but they will be part of a main sub-plot of the 2017-18 NBA season, which starts in just 12 days.