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Report: LeBron James’ Camp Pessimistic of Paul George Leaving Thunder

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Remember when [Paul] George was so hell-bent on joining the Lakers? Well, that was before he found his way out of Indiana and into an Oklahoma City situation that might suit him well after all.

Even with the Thunder coming just two losses away from missing the playoffs, and then falling to Utah in six games during their first-round matchup, there is all sorts of optimism in Oklahoma City that George will re-sign. Conversely, there’s pessimism in [LeBron] James’ camp that George would leave Oklahoma City. George has raved about the Thunder since the beginning, making it clear to USA TODAY Sports in September that the organization had earned his confidence from the start.

It’s not hard to understand what might compel George to stay. The chemistry with Russell Westbrook is bound to improve if they have a second year together, and it doesn’t hurt that their off-court relationship continues to appear very strong. Ditto for George’s dynamic with coach Billy Donovan.

Source: Sam Amick of USA Today

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Sources: Victor Oladipo to Opt Out of NBA Restart

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Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo has decided to sit out the resumed 2019-20 NBA season, telling The Athletic on Friday he can’t get his mind “to being fully comfortable” in playing.

“I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo said. “I feel like I’m at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent. With all the variables, from how I have to build my 5-on-5 workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact set up of the bubble, I just can’t get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing. I have to be smart and this decision hasn’t been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me.”

Oladipo has one year left on his four-year, $84 million deal with the Pacers. Sources said Oladipo plans to travel with the team to Orlando despite his decision to opt out of playing, and that he will continue his rehab, support his teammates and join them inside the bubble environment.

Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic

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Sources: NBA Expected to OK ‘second bubble’ in Chicago

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The NBA is closing in on signing off on a second “bubble” in Chicago for the eight teams that were not invited to play in Orlando, enabling mini-training camps and subsequent games against other clubs with a target date of September, sources tell ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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Sources: Zhaire Smith Out for NBA Restart with Bone Bruise in Left Knee

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Philadelphia 76ers wing Zhaire Smith has a bone bruise in his left knee, per source. He will not travel to Orlando.

Smith began experiencing pain prior to the Sixers resuming workouts last week, and he started treatment immediately. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Source: Derek Bodner on Twitter

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