A day after Russell Westbrook called his All-Star snub “outrageous,” Paul George told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols it was “awesome” to see his Thunder teammate support him, while also noting Westbrook is making George’s future free-agency decision “easier” to make.
“Russ is the reason why this decision is becoming even more easier to make, is the character Russ [has],” George said on Wednesday. “A stand-up guy, and he has his teammate’s back.”
Westbrook fumed about George’s omission following the Thunder’s 109-108 win over the Nets on Tuesday, mentioning the Warriors getting four selections, as well as players “complaining about getting snubbed until they get in.”
“We were actually joking before he went up there, and I’m like, ‘Nah, Russ, man, just let it go, let it go Russ. It is what it is, I wasn’t picked,’ and he was like, ‘Nah, man, P, that’s messed up. I’m gonna tell them something about that,'” George said.
“It was awesome for a teammate to have your back and to stand up,” he said. “And to be honest, he should be a starter. He’s been the MVP, been the best player at his position. He should’ve been a starter, but that’s another story. But the fact Russ had my back, that’s my guy forever, and it’s more apparent what this decision needs to be made when it comes down to it.”
A free-agent-to-be this July, George has been vocal in expressing affection for Southern California where he grew up, but has maintained his desire to continue building on what the Thunder have assembled this season with Westbrook, himself and Carmelo Anthony. When Westbrook signed a five-year extension last September, George also said that move by Westbrook would make his future decision “easier.”
George is averaging 20.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, while being as one of the top contenders for Defensive Player of the Year at the season’s midway point.