Oklahoma City Thunder

Paul George says Carmelo Anthony makes Thunder contenders


Paul George is excited about his new teammate, Carmelo Anthony, and his new team.

It seemed for a long time that Carmelo Anthony would never get away from the New York Knicks, but things changed once the small forward agreed to waive his no-trade clause for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul George was thrilled to hear the news of Anthony being traded, and he recently made it clear why.

“This feels like a championship team,” George told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m in a good place. I know Russ (Westbrook) is in a good place. Melo is motivated more than ever…You put us three together, who all have something to prove still, (and) we’re going to be a special team. We have a young group, a lot of talent here, an unbelievable coach (in Billy Donovan), (and) as you see, a front office that’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team. It just has all the makeups to be a great organization and a chance to put championships together.”

The Thunder now have three former All-Stars, and that is impressive and rare for a small market team. Russell Westbrook and George have both played with Anthony on Team USA, and the fans in Oklahoma are hopeful that the Thunder will see that version of Carmelo.

George also shot a little bit of shade towards his former team during his USA Today interview, and the Indiana Pacers might feel hurt after reading these comments.

“I’m real excited,” he said. “It just goes to show how a small market can stay aggressive in the trade place, and can really do whatever it needs to do for the players’ sake to give them the best chance to win, man. The most beautiful thing about it is (that) this organization (lets) all their players know what’s going on. There’s nothing under the table. There’s nothing hidden since I’ve been here so far. So I was aware of what was going on. I was extremely happy. I was pushing for this opportunity to play with (Anthony). I’m extremely happy…The first year I get here, we already have three superstars on the team. It just goes to show what’s possible with different organizations.”

Larry Bird is probably happy he doesn’t have to answer any questions about this right now. Oklahoma City shouldn’t get too comfortable with the situation though, because this isn’t a roster built for a long run of contention.

Don’t get me wrong. The Thunder have a whole lot of talent, but they need to achieve success quickly. They have a one-year window to convince their three stars to stay in town, and the stakes are high. If this season is a failure, then they might all leave. And that would be even more devastating than the day that Kevin Durant bolted.

Head coach Billy Donovan has got his work cut out for him. Higher expectations will put more pressure on him to get things done. If the Thunder make it back to the Western Conference Finals, then that might be enough to keep Westbrook and Anthony around. But anything less than a championship will probably send George packing to Los Angeles.



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