In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Lee Jenkins, Paul George opened up about leaving the Pacers, joining the Thunder, and a potential future with the Lakers.

George was traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis at the end of June. He apparently reached out to former OKC superstar Kevin Durant to discuss the move:

“KD was like, ‘That place will blow you away,’” George says. “He told me, ‘They can offer what other teams can’t in terms of the people and the preparation and the facility, down to the chefs and the meals.’ He was pretty high on them. He thought it was a first-class organization in every way.” 

In addition, PG expressed his appreciation for Pacer fans and revealed the primary reason he wanted out:

“There’s no right way to handle it,” George says. “I get the frustration. I get why people are upset. But at the same time, I want the average fan to understand that we only get a small window to play this game and more than anything you want to be able to play for a championship. I wanted to bring that to Indiana. I really did. I love Indiana. That will always be a special place for me and I’m sorry for not holding on. But I wasn’t sure we’d ever get a team together to compete for a championship and that’s where all this came from.”

 

 

“I felt like the window had closed. I thought they were going in a different direction and I wanted to go in a different direction.” He didn’t ask for a trade. He told the Pacers he intended to sign elsewhere after his deal expired in ‘18. “I wanted them to have the opportunity to get something back if they didn’t want me to play that last year.”

There is much speculation that George, who will be a free agent next summer, will leave the Thunder for the Los Angeles Lakers. For now, he isn’t ready to commit to anything:

“I grew up a Lakers and a Clippers fan,” George says. “I idolized Kobe. There will always be a tie here, a connection here. People saying I want to come here, who doesn’t want to play for their hometown? That’s a dream come true, if you’re a kid growing up on the outskirts of L.A., to be the man in your city. But it’s definitely been overstated. For me, it’s all about winning. I want to be in a good system, a good team. I want a shot to win it. I’m not a stats guy. I’m playing this game to win and build a legacy of winning. I’ve yet to do that. I’m searching for it. If we get a killer season in Oklahoma, we make the conference finals or upset the Warriors or do something crazy, I’d be dumb to want to leave that.”

 

 

“It’s too early for L.A.,” he says. “It would have to be a situation where the ball gets rolling and guys are hopping on. This guy commits, that guy commits. ‘Oh s—, now there’s a team forming.’ It has to be like that.” But the same is true for virtually every locale outside of Oakland. “I’m in OKC, so hopefully me and Russ do a good enough job and make it to the conference finals and love the situation, why not recruit someone to come build it with us? I’m open in this whole process.”

We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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