All-Star forward Paul George decided to stay with Oklahoma City Thunder this summer and sign a new four-year, $137 million contract with the team. The basketball world was caught by surprise with this decision since everyone expected that George goes to his hometown to play with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now the 28-year-old revealed that he would be a Laker if Indiana Pacers didn’t trade him to OKC back in 2017.
“It was 50-50 on deciding whether I wanted to come back home or if it was smarter to be in the situation I am in now,” – George told The Undefeated. “But it wasn’t overstated. I wanted to play in L.A. That is where I wanted to go. Had that trade never went down, had I played one more year in Indy, I would have been in a Lakers uniform.“
In the summer of 2017, Paul George informed Indiana Pacers that he won’t resign with the team when his contract expires in 2018 and that his preferred destination are Los Angeles Lakers. But since Lakers didn’t want to give up assets to acquire George via trade, knowing they can get him for free in a year, Pacers instead traded the player to the Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Arriving in Oklahoma City, George fell in love with the city and the organization and eventually decided not to follow his dream of playing in Lakers uniform.
“Going toward the summer and going toward free agency, I kind of had my mind made up talking with the team, talking with Russ and talking with the front office,” – he explained. “I kind of felt good where we were at. Last [season], I didn’t get a chance to start with this team fresh. I got traded late. So, I picked up things late with the team. I wanted to get to it right away this time and start creating early.”
It looks like Paul George did get it right this time, since he opened the 2018-19 season with an impressive performance in a 100-108 loss against the Golden State Warriors, ending the game with 27 points, two rebounds, five assists, and four steals.