It looks like the Oklahoma City Thunder's chances of keeping Paul George beyond this season have gone up slightly. 

According to David Aldridge of TNT, George will grant the Thunder an audience this summer when he's making his final free agency decision. He is said to be impressed with the Thunder organization so far.

It will be up to George and Anthony, of course, to decide what they do. But now, according to a source familiar with him, George will listen in good faith to what the Thunder have to say. 


The source says George has been impressed by the culture of the Thunder and how meticulous general manager Sam Presti and the organization are in building the roster and the franchise. George was impressed that the front office "had the (guts)," in the source's words, to put everything on the line in getting him, and followed it up by getting Anthony without giving up any of the team's core group.   

George was traded to the Thunder in June after he reportedly told the Pacers he planned to opt out of his contract after the upcoming season. Oklahoma City was willing to take a potential rental in George, knowing that he may end up choosing to leave after one season.

George's decision to give the Thunder a chance at him next summer is interesting, because he reportedly told Indiana that his preferred destination when he opts out is the Lakers. Los Angeles was even fined for tampering with George while he was with the Pacers. There is clearly a connection there that isn't going to go away.

It remains to be seen how all this affects the Lakers' long-term plans. If George has a great season in OKC and decides to either opt in to the final year of his contract or even extend with the Thunder, then that will leave the Lakers with a lot of cap space. Los Angeles has built a team for the future and could theoretically survive without George, but it would still be a huge missed opportunity if George stays in Oklahoma City.

Funny enough, that future-minded Lakers roster could be part of why George chooses to stay with the Thunder. If OKC has a great season with George, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook then maybe he chooses to stay. After all, winning fixes most problems and it might be difficult for George to leave a contender to go to a team still in the rebuilding process.