Thunder GM Sam Presti reiterates interest in keeping Paul George, says he's 'encouraged' by dialogue

After an incredibly disappointing first-round exit, the Thunder have decisions to make. Or rather, the Thunder's players have decisions to make. With the one-year experiment of Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook comprising the Oklahoma City Big Three ending prematurely, the Thunder are now at the mercy of free agent George and Anthony, who refuses to take a bench, regarding what their roster will look like next year.

Thunder GM Sam Presti, however, isn't sweating that just yet.

"I talked to P.G.," Presti said during his exit interview for the season, per Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript. "I would say why don't we listen to Paul. He has a lot of comments also. I'm not trying to dissuade anybody or say that what someone says someone told them is inaccurate. I'd just rather listen to the man himself."

Rumors have surfaced about George's intentions to leave in free agency, but Presti is steadfast in his preference to bring George back next season after a solid campaign with the Thunder. George was traded on the final year of his contract from the Pacers in a deal that included sending Victor Oladipo to Indiana.

Presti went on to say that it's uncharacteristic of George to have information leak.

"I'd also reflect on the fact that P.G. really keeps his business, like, pretty in-house," he said. "We've gone through the whole year, we haven't heard a whole lot of stuff since he's been here. He's been pretty straight down the middle. I can't do anything but trust the things I'm being told. And I do because if you can't do that, when I say trust, I mean trust the fact that he said positive things about the organization."

However, Presti knows that it isn't all rainbows, butterflies and trust. If you're going to keep George, who turned 28 on Wednesday, you need to break out the checkbook too. When he was asked about paying the expensive tax to keep George, his response was clear: "The answer to that would be affirmative."

George himself has said that he would "love to" remain in OKC, but he wasn't shy in adding that he was in no rush to make a choice. "There was a lot to be happy about: the fans, the city, the organization," George said after the team's Game 6 loss to the Jazz ended their season. "Everything has been unbelievable. It's too soon. I'd love to remain a Thunder, but that's what this summer is for. We'll address that in the summer."

It will likely be a summer of misinformation regarding George and his intentions. The native Californian has been heavily tied to the Los Angeles Lakers, but he'll be listening to offers from most of the teams in the NBA. George averaged 21.9 points per game on a team with the ball-dominant Westbrook, and changing scenery didn't cause him to miss a beat. George's next contract could well end up being the biggest of his career -- he's clearly playing like he's in his prime -- so he certainly won't rush to a decision.

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