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Rumors Aplenty as Paul George Enters Free Agency

With Paul George set to officially enter free agency tonight at midnight, there are a number of Thunder-positive rumors floating around that are giving fans in Oklahoma City a reason for optimism. Here’s a look at what’s being said.

(1) Russell Westbrook’s Party in OKC

According to Royce Young of ESPN, Russell Westbrook is hosting an exclusive party tonight in Oklahoma City — a party that Paul George is reportedly in town to attend.

Via Young:

“Paul George arrived in Oklahoma City early Saturday evening, as Russell Westbrook was hosting a private party in town late Saturday night as free agency opens, sources told ESPN.
Westbrook has organized the event, dubbed a “summer hype house party,” being held at a property near Lake Arcadia. He invited around 500 guests with the promise of a “surprise performance by a multi-platinum artist.”
Sources told ESPN that artist is Nas. The invitation says, “The FOMO will be real.” Invited guests were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.”

With George officially eligible to sign a contract when the clock strikes midnight, Twitter is losing its mind about what might actually go down tonight. Young went on to say that it’s unclear if the party is a recruitment tool (if so — good on you, Russ) or something more, but it’s all very interesting. I look forward to the day I get invited to a shindig that requires signing a non-disclosure agreement. I feel like that’s when you’ve made it.

(2) Marc Stein Affirmation

Reaffirming much of what has been said over the last few weeks, Marc Stein of the New York Times mentioned the strong possibility of George remaining in Oklahoma City in today’s free agency preview.

Via Stein:

“It has been hard to ignore the whispers steadily rising in volume for the past month that George, the All-Star forward, is strongly considering signing a two- or three-year deal to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder.”

Two years (1+1) still makes the most sense here. A three-year deal would be an even more monstrous victory for Sam “Scared Money Don’t Make None” Presti.

(3) Paul George’s Barber

The owner of the Fade-N-Up barbershop in Oklahoma City took a stab at breaking news this morning:

And before he’s written off entirely, he posted this tweet back in May — so, they clearly have an existing friendship:

While I don’t put a ton of faith in Twitter reporting, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that George has an extremely close relationship with the guy who cuts his hair. I’ve had the same guy (Frank) cutting mine for the past two years and the most I’ve divulged is “work has been crazy…” but hey — maybe PG is just a nicer, more open guy than I am.

What Does It All Mean?

Everything. Or nothing. Could mean something… What is even real anymore?

While it looks more and more possible that PG returns to the Thunder for at least another season, him making it official at tonight’s party in OKC seems a bit outlandish to me. After all the talk of L.A., the SportsCenter free agency series, and everything else we’ve heard over the past year, it seems certifiably insane that he would make a decision without at least meeting with the Lakers and other interested suitors. I mean, it’s possible… but is it likely?

Regardless, we’ll turn to Twitter tonight at midnight and wait for whatever comes next. It’s almost officially the most hectic, stressful, and wonderful time of the NBA offseason.