Paul George to the Los Angeles Lakers was a done deal long before this offseason started. At least, that’s what everyone thought.
George stunned the NBA world by not only re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but by doing so before even taking a meeting with his hometown Lakers.
The star forward agreed to sign a four-year, $136.9 million contract with the Thunder at the beginning of free agency, electing to stay alongside Russell Westbrook rather than don the Purple and Gold.
While many thought it was a puzzling decision for George to not take a meeting with Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, his reasoning is pretty sound.
“The reason why I didn’t (take a meeting) is that coming down to free agency and before it was about to open (on July 1), I felt really good where I was at,” George told USA TODAY. “I felt I was in a good place with Oklahoma. I wanted to come back to LA. That story was true. The narrative on that was true.
“That’s where my heart was. But this year, being in Oklahoma, I felt really good about the situation, I felt really good going forward, and I didn’t want to waste nobody’s time and take a meeting. And now I’m straddling the fence, putting more stress and more pressure on the situation. I felt good about it. I felt great where we were at, so I decided to do it early, to get it over with, and start to build. I didn’t get that chance to last summer, because I got traded late in the summer. So I never got that chance to start fresh, to work to get better with Russ and work to get better with the Thunder. So I wanted to attack that early and get ready for my career.”
George missed out on the chance to play with LeBron James, who chose to join the Lakers less than a day later, but the 28-year-old seems at peace with his decision to pair with “Brodie” and try to bring a title to OKC.