Paul George Says He “Never Wanted to Leave L.A.”

Paul George with OKC in 2018
Paul George with OKC in 2018. Photo by Jevone Moore/Cal Sport Media/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (9366774al)

One of the biggest moves in this NBA offseason was All-Star Paul George leaving the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent and signing with the Philadelphia 76ers. But it turns out this wasn’t something that George actually wanted to happen.

Speaking on the latest episode of his podcast Podcast P with Paul George, George, who inked a four-year, $212-million with Philly, explained that he never wanted to leave Los Angeles.

“I never wanted to leave L.A.,” George said. “L.A. is home, this is where I wanted to finish at, and I wanted to work as hard as possible to win one in L.A. That was the goal, to be here and be committed to L.A. As it played out though, the first initial deal was I thought kind of disrespectful.“

George went on to share details about his failed negotiations with the Clippers. Apparently, the first offer that the Clippers gave him was for $60 million and two years. They later bumped their offer to “44-45 million per year.“

George disputes that he wanted a maximum contract from the Clippers. According to him, he was willing to take less money like his co-star Kawhi Leonard in efforts to help the team put together a competitive roster. Leonard previously signed a three-year, $150 million extension.

Eventually, George proposed two options to the Clippers. He either wanted a three-year, $150 million with a no-trade clause or a four-year, $212 million deal to protect him in case of being traded. The LA team ended up offering him neither.

“Then I hear wind of what they’re going to give Kawhi so I’m like, ‘Just give me what Kawhi got,'” George said. “… Kawhi took less, so if Kawhi takes less, it’s not about me being paid more than him. Y’all give him that, give me that. They didn’t want to do that.”