Paul George: Exit interview hints of free agency and comfort with OKC

Paul George exit interview could be his last as a member of the OKC Thunder.

Just 16 days ago Paul George proclaimed himself ‘Playoff P’. Prior to the OKC Thunder tipping off their series against the Utah Jazz. ‘Playoff P’ did not exactly pan out hence the team bowed out in Game 6 of the series.

George’s exit interview did not provide the same amount of intrigue as his teammate Carmelo Anthony’s. Yet, George did offer some eye-catching insight of his own.

George was asked about his thoughts on his first year in OKC

I thought it went really good. …Obviously, it’s the first year, so it was an adjustment. It was a new year for me, new games, lots of new opportunities, new lessons to learn, new experiences.

The fans, the love, energy, everything has been amazing here. I have a lot to take with me and be happy about.

This feels like an open-minded answer from PG. This can be considered a bonus especially considering how the season ended.

When Sam Presti traded for George, PG being a one-year rental was always a strong possibility. A first-round exit likely won’t be a huge factor either way.

How George plans to approach free agency

First time being in this situation, so kind of just let the summer happen, kind of decompress. Get away from just basketball in general for a little bit, and just come back to it.

Early on George was fairly mum about the free agency process. This is typical for most NBA free agents. George was asked whether or not he had a checklist of things he’s looking for in a team, his response was ‘absolutely’.

When pushed if he would like to reveal what was on his checklist, George wasn’t willing to expand. However, later in his interview, he backtracked and did lay out a few caveats.

On where he currently stands

I still feel good. I feel good, again, about what we accomplished here, the relationships I’ve built. Feel good about all that.
Going forward, I feel good about what we can accomplish here.

Here’s the objective Thunder Nation, if it feels like you’ve heard these things before from a pending free agent you have from Russell Westbrook. It seems like Russ said the right things and he ultimately stayed.

It’s understandable not to take everything Paul George says to heart. Because it could result in getting burned, similar to the past. Thunder Nation learned from experience with Kevin Durant. KD was all athlete speak, telling you what you wanted to hear. While Russ was honestly telling you how it was, whether you believed him or not.

In due time we’ll know if PG was just saying the right things or if he honestly felt good about the situation going forward.

Is George excited or nervous about free agency?

Nervous, nervous. I’m not really sure what to expect. I’m not even at that point yet.

This comment is refreshing because it reminds everyone professional athletes are no different from the rest of us. Free agency is similar to a job search. Athletes and their agent seek out different employers (teams) and schedule meetings (interviews).

George queried on how the magnitude of his decision could impact Thunder:

Yeah, again, I haven’t really put everything in perspective. I think the biggest thing is just trying to keep a relationship with Sam, continue to talk with Sam. Continue to talk with Billy, with Russ, and figure out the direction we want to go as a group, more so than anything.

George discussed how OKC are on the cusp of something special in Oklahoma City. Yet at the same time just because OKC is on the cusp does not mean George will stay. George may feel another team offers a better opportunity, fit or are also on the cusp.

Furthermore, as Royce Young tweeted when noting relationship’s Melo’s name was absent from the names George mentioned.

George on the proverbial boxes that need to be checked

They honestly check the boxes where I needed those boxes to be checked from what a player wants and needs out of a front office, out of a medical group, out of teammates, out of coaching staff. I mean, honestly, they can’t say it anymore that. They checked the boxes on what needs to be checked.

First George played coy and did not reveal the boxes on his checklist, then he offered this nugget. Maybe it’s more athlete speak or maybe this is yet another positive for the Thunder.

The answers to these questions and more will be answered in July. Until then it’s a long waiting game.

George’s relationship with Coach Donovan

Really good. We had a really good relationship, conversations, you know. He played a big role in helping me get comfortable, helping me transition here. It was definitely an easier process having Donovan by my side.

George offered a take on his head coach that is strikingly different from Anthony’s. However, he noted Donovan helped him with his transition to Oklahoma City rather than his transition onto the team.

PG even referenced how he had dinner at Donovan’s house when he first got to Oklahoma City. No one has accused Billy D of lack of communication with his players off the court. More so his lack of control over his players while on the court.

That’s it for me today Thunder Nation. Stay with Thunderous Intentions for more observations and highlights from the OKC Thunder’s exit interviews.

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