George, 28, will become a free agent on July 1 after opting out of the final year of his deal with the Thunder and looked finally set to join the Lakers after years of speculation linking him with the historic franchise.
But the situation is believed to have been complicated after a year spent alongside Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, with whom the five-time All-Star has developed a close friendship.
George’s path through the free agency process is being documented in an ESPN mini-series, My Journey, during which the former Indiana Pacer revealed he would prioritise winning a championship over all else when choosing his next move.
However, the Thunder, who own his bird rights, may also be able to tempt George to stick around with a lucrative max offer sheet worth $176m over five years.
Any other team could only offer George the maximum over a four-year period, meaning he could risk losing out on $46m in guaranteed cash later down the line.
Speaking to Los Angeles-based radio station, ESPN 710, yesterday, Lakers insider Ramona Shelburne revealed the belief that George would leave the Thunder this summer had now been reduced to a “hail Mary” effort for the Lakers’ front office.
And her claims were corroborated by fellow hoops expert Brian Windhorst, who suggested “all signs” were pointing to George “remaining in Oklahoma City”.
Situations can change overnight during free agency – particularly given the number of significant names this year – but Lakers fans were left devastated by the news last night.
“Paul George is mentally weak, have fun rotting in OKC,” one furious fan wrote on social media site Reddit.
Another said: “It’s okay, let him suffer when we sweep OKC in the first round [of the playoffs] next year… F*** PG!”
“I just don’t want him thinking he can slither his way over to us later once we’re back in contention,” added a third.
“Now or never.”