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The Welcome Party Is Over for Paul George in OKC

Related Topics: Welcome Party, Oklahoma City

The Thunder pulled out all the stops when they traded for Paul George in June, throwing the All-Star forward a lavish welcome party with one eye on the playoffs and the other on his 2018 free agency. That especially warm embrace was the first step of a shrewd and self-aware retention strategy, one designed to frame the Thunder as a family that cares, not merely a brand-building platform. What Oklahoma City might lack in nightlife or glamour, the pitch went, it makes up for with everything a star could desires: a winning environment, an MVP captain in Russell Westbrook, a proven GM in Sam Presti, a low-key ownership group, and an ultra-passionate fan base.