When the Oklahoma City Thunder traded for Paul George over the summer, they knew what they were getting.
While PG is an undeniable superstar, who brings loads of positives to the basketball floor, they traded for him knowing he might elect to leave after only a year. That was the risk they took in trading for a player with one season left on his contract.
So far, however, it has looked like the Thunder may end this story happily. Throughout the last couple of months, PG has dropped several hints at his intentions come this upcoming free-agency period, and almost all of them have implied a return to Oklahoma City.
Still, even with all of that being true, reality may be painting a different picture.
Money is the root of everything in the NBA. Without the money to hand to stars, a team is going to have trouble building a quality basketball roster. And for the OKC Thunder, money is something they don't really have right now.
Simply said, OKC's luxury tax payments will reach ridiculous heights next year if they keep Paul George. Even if the Thunder re-sign PG to his max contract and replace their free agents with minimum deals, they will still pay $115 million in luxury tax alone.That would be, by far, the highest amount paid in league history.
For a small-market team such as Oklahoma City (or even any market, for that matter) that's not something that sounds like they'd be keen on doing. Essentially, the team would be paying truckloads of cash for a team that'd be worse than this years.
There's no guarantee that things will not find a way to work themselves out. After all, the Warriors have somehow assembled a team with four All-Stars, and are supposedly looking to add a fifth. Strange things such as these do happen.
For George and the Thunder, however, the matter of their relationship seems to be a bit more fragile...