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After all the rumors of Paul George being “hell bent” on being a Laker, on being able to play at home, on being able to wear Purple and Gold….he signs a huge extension to stay in Oklahoma City.
Oh what could have been for Laker fans, as they've spent the last two years basically expecting Paul George to be a Laker come 2018-2019. Yet George decided to stay with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in a smaller market. For the Thunder, the fact George didn't even have a second thought about leaving is huge for them; it can be argued this is an even bigger win for them than the fact they originally traded away two rotation players for him. For the league, it drastically shapes the NBA free agency as now Lebron James is down a possible teammate and the Lakers are down one of their dream targets.
Paul George's contact is a 4 year $137 million max, which is shocking for a variety of reasons. George originally turned down a super max from Indiana which would have been worth well over $200 million and he also now did a 3 + 1 contract instead of a 1 + 1. Had he taken a 1 + 1 deal it would have bumped him into the 10 years of service range and his max deal could have netted him even more money. It's a very odd and even baffling decision on George's part.
Speaking of money, the Thunder are about to be shelling out money to the league like no tomorrow for this upcoming season. The Thunder have 11 players on their roster and already have a player payroll of $156 million, it's worth noting the NBA salary cap is only $101.9 million. OKC is also a repeat luxury tax payer so this $156 million payroll balloons to a whopping $286 million over the course of the season and that's before they fill out the rest of their roster. The incoming $130 million tax bill will be the highest in NBA history.
Due to this eyewaterinw tax bill, even to the rich owners, it's been wildly speculated that Carmelo Anthony will either be bought out or waived via the stretch provision. Melo, who opted into his deal, is the odd man out for the Thunder and getting his contract off the books would save nearly $100 million overall thanks to a combination of his cap hit and repeater tax.