Paul George eager to build foundation with Thunder

Leah Klafczynski/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

It’s widely assumed Paul George plans to bolt the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency next summer, further illustrating the difficulties small markets have at retaining superstars.

George, though, is under contract with the Thunder for one season. He addressed his future on Wednesday when speaking to media in Oklahoma City. While it certainly doesn’t sound like George plans to sign a contract extension before he hits free agency in 2018, these remarks leave the door slightly ajar for a possible future in Oklahoma, provided he and Russell Westbrook can elevate the franchise this season.

“Right now, (the mindset is) it’s ‘take it as it comes,'” George said. “A fresh start and a chance to do something special is really the first thing that comes to mind. I’m not looking past playing (the) ’17-’18 (season). We haven’t accomplished nothing yet. If it comes to that when I get there, we’ll address that. But right now, me and Russ have something to build now. We’ll see where it takes us.

“It could be something special that we build and continue on building.”

George’s desire to return to Los Angeles, where he grew up in the Palmdale suburb, has been well documented. And with the star saying he would leave the Indiana Pacers in free agency, it prompted the trade to Oklahoma City.

As of now, George is saying the right things. But he’ll have to answer this question at different junctures this season. He’s getting started on the message now.

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