Paul George free agency – McCollum makes bold claim PG will land in L.A.

Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Torrey Purvey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Torrey Purvey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

NBA Free Agency 2018 is drawing plenty of speculation on where Paul George will end up.

Arguably this offseason should be dubbed the ‘Summer of the King, PG13 and Kawhi. Certainly those three players are the ones franchises will be most invested in. With that, every pundit, analyst and player is being asked for their opinion on the matter. OKC Thunder fans care primarily about Paul George. However, what LeBron James will decide (round 3.0) will affect virtually 29 other squads.

The most recent opinion on Paul George comes courtesy of the Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum.

C.J. was a guest on Adrian Wojnarowski’s the Woj Pod. After a brief discussion the crowd asks questions.

Right away George and Leonard are the players the audience inquires about.

McCollum’s two cents and stirring of the pot:

Audience Question:

"“Do you guys (Blazers) perhaps need Paul George or Kawhi Leonard to maybe take a step up, to complement you and Dame (Lillard)?”"


"Obviously there’s not a lot of Kawhi Leonard’s or Paul George’s out in the league. So, being able to find someone to combat them is tough. There’s only a few high caliber wing players like that in the league. What is it Kawhi is up for $219 million the Spurs are trying to figure it out. There’s not a lot of players who can make that kind of money at any position.”"

McCollum goes on to speak about Mo Harkless and his abilities and when he gets to speaking about ‘3 and D’ the attendees again chime in.


"“Paul George is a three & D. “"


"“I already tried to get Paul George once. Like, he already turned us down once. I mean you can only shoot your shot so many times in the DMs before you just have to you know, give up. He left me on red receipt, you know.  But no, he’s a cool dude, and he’s got to do what’s best for his family. You know he couldn’t control where he went. He ended up getting traded anyway to OKC. (pauses — then) –“I wish him nothing but the best, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy that California sunshine next season.”  Woj and the crowd laugh and McCollum quips “What? It’s the truth.”"

McCollum maybe should watch out for his own trade reflection:

The most interesting aspect of his two cents is McCollum is by no means a safe property in Portland. Following a quick first round thrashing at the hands of the Pelicans many assume G.M. Neil Olshay may need to break up the core unit of Damian Lillard, McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic.

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Obviously that trio could continue in an effort to maintain constancy. But, they were dispatched of so easily and in stark need of a wing and power forward. The franchise is buoyed by their stretch five rookie Zach Collins.  However, there remains a major issue defensively and in players who can either stretch the floor or create for others (ideally both).

Salaries commitments for next season are Lillard: $27,977,689, McCollum: $25,759,766 and the unmovable Evan Turner contract: $17,868,853

Moreover, Nurkic who initially made a splash and the highly overpaid Turner aren’t a solid enough core to invest the future in. Particularly with the Blazers salary not being commensurate to the production.

To that end, the most shoppable assets are Lillard and McCollum, but Dame is definitely the higher valued asset and better overall core asset.

Paul George Questions will remain unanswered (for now)


What OKC Thunder fans are left to ponder is several questions.

Was this C.J. just stirring the pot?

How long ago did these DM’s (Direct Messages) occur? Perhaps this was an initial response from Paul George.

What OKC Thunder fans know definitively is:

One – Paul George will be highly coveted.

Two – Sam Presti has made it clear the goal is to retain and re-sign him.

Three – George can get the longest term and therefore the most money via the Thunder.

Four – Russell Westbrook and George have formed a strong bond, which has continued in the offseason.

Five – OKC Thunder medical staff was on site for the procedure George had to his knee and elbow.

And…………. no one except Paul George knows what his precise plans are. And, even then George may not have made up his mind completely.