Paul George says L.A. ‘is where I wanted to go’

Paul George says L.A. 'is where I wanted to go'

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Paul George revealed to ESPN’s The Undefeated that he “would have been in a Lakers uniform” if he had by no means been traded from the Indiana Pacers. However after the Pacers dealt the five-time All-Star to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder as an alternative final 12 months, he fell in love along with his new group and enjoying with Russell Westbrook earlier than ultimately agreeing to a four-year, $137 million contract extension this previous offseason.
“It was 50-50 on deciding whether or not I wished to return again residence or if it was smarter to be within the scenario I’m in now,” George advised The Undefeated. “Nevertheless it wasn’t overstated. I wished to play in L.A. That’s the place I wished to go. Had that commerce by no means went down, had I performed yet one more 12 months in Indy, I might have been in a Lakers uniform.”
The Thunder acquired George from the Indiana Pacers in change for guard Victor Oladipo and ahead Domantas Sabonis on July 6, 2017. Earlier than that commerce, George was most intrigued by the considered being dealt to the Lakers. The Lakers had the important thing piece to make such a transfer as they owned the No. 2 decide within the 2017 NBA draft or ahead Brandon Ingram, a supply stated. The Lakers, nevertheless, saved the No. 2 choice to draft UCLA guard Lonzo Ball and by no means dealt Ingram. George was disillusioned that the Lakers didn’t worth him sufficient to make the commerce with the Pacers on the time, a supply stated.
The Lakers hoped to fulfill with the Palmdale, California, native throughout free company this previous July in hopes of signing him. George, nevertheless, quietly decided to re-sign with the Thunder earlier than free company arrived and by no means met with the Lakers. The Lakers would go on to signal NBA star LeBron James as a free agent. George additionally advised The Undefeated that he spoke with James about his doable future plans earlier than the Thunder commerce when James was enjoying for the Cleveland Cavaliers, however they by no means had an analogous dialog afterward.
George returns to Los Angeles for the primary time since deciding to re-sign with Oklahoma Metropolis to play the LA Clippers on Friday.
“Going towards the summer time and going towards free company, I type of had my thoughts made up speaking with the group, speaking with Russ and speaking with the front-office,” George stated. “I type of felt good the place we have been at. Final [season], I did not get an opportunity to begin with this group contemporary. I obtained traded late. So, I picked up issues late with the group. I wished to get to it immediately this time and begin creating early.”
It was a dangerous gamble for Thunder basic supervisor Sam Presti when he traded for George. George averaged 21.9 factors, 5.7 rebounds, three.three assists and a pair steals per recreation final season for the Thunder. George, Westbrook and then-teammate Carmelo Anthony, nevertheless, misplaced to the Utah Jazz within the first spherical of the 2018 NBA playoffs in six video games. George may have walked away for nothing from the Thunder. However regardless of the Thunder’s shortcomings final season, George appreciated what he noticed for the longer term with Westbrook signed long run, so he re-signed.
Trying again, George praised Presti for playing on him.
“It was a hell of a raffle. That was balls to go towards L.A. They tried it, examined their luck and Sam got here up fortunate,” George stated.

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