A report by ESPN.com's Royce Young, who covers the Oklahoma City Thunder exclusively for ESPN, would seem to be very good news where the Paul George sweepstakes are concerned.
According to Young, George, the forward who officially becomes a free agent at midnight tonight, returned to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon to attend a private party being thrown by Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook near Lake Arcadia later this evening.
Says the report, Westbrook invited “around 500 guests with the promise of a ‘surprise performance by a multi-platinum artist.’”
“Sources tell ESPN that artist is Nas. The invitation says, ‘The FOMO will be real.’ Invited guests were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement,” wrote Young.
Also, reported by Young, the motivation behind the event is not known. However, the timing of it, presuming it’s indeed happening, would seem to be quite good news for Thunder fans hoping George will sign back up with OKC, which is believed to be offering a five-year, $176 million deal to George, the max contract allowed to be offered by a team trying to retain a player.
Would Westbrook really throw such an event as a goodbye party?
George is believed to have given consideration to the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the Thunder. Though current thinking among the NBA punditry is that the 76ers are now out of the running. George can come to a verbal agreement beginning at midnight tonight, but cannot sign until July 6.
George could also sign a “one-and-one” or a “two-and-one” contract with the Thunder, which would give him the option of re-entering free agency following next season or the following season.
Were he to sign with any NBA team other than Oklahoma City, the max contract available to him would span four years and pay $130 million, $46 million less than the Thunder can pay him.