Paul George appears to have spurned the Los Angeles Lakers and agreed to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency, and that may be because of the relationships he built in OKC over the past year.
One relationship, in particular.
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Saturday that a rival executive believes Russell Westbrook played a role in George's decision: "This is a friendship decision to stay in OKC as much as anything."
That goes along with what George said early on in his Thunder career last year, when he revealed to reporters that Westbrook signing a five-year extension with Oklahoma City would "absolutely" make his free-agent decision "easier":
George echoed those sentiments back in January when he was getting Westbrook's support for an All-Star campaign, via ESPN.com's Royce Young: "Russ is the reason why this decision is becoming even more easier to make, is the character Russ [has]. A stand-up guy, and he has his teammate's back."
Knowing all of that, it should come as no surprise that George announced his return with Westbrook by his side at a "summer hype house party" that the point guard hosted, per Young.