Paul George Explains Why He Snubbed Lakers For Thunder As A Free Agent

Sue OgrockiAP Images

Before Paul George chose to sign a four-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder a few minutes before the official opening of free agency, most people felt convinced PG13 would go to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Last year, when George requested that the Indiana Pacers trade him, according to the word on the street, he wanted to go home to L.A. However, in a somewhat surprising move, the Thunder pulled off a pretty fantastic trade and brought him aboard the small market organization. Even more importantly, though, they got him to buy into it and stay.

The fans, the fishing, the Oklahoma City Memorial, the team, the organization, and more came together for PG13, and he decided to put down roots in OKC for a while, altogether the entire move turned out to be something great for the NBA All-Star.

According to an Uproxx report, George told ESPN in the third part of his documentary, “I wanted to come here [Los Angeles] a year ago prior to going to OKC. Unfortunately, I wasn’t traded to the Lakers. The Lakers didn’t grab me. I was traded to Oklahoma, and that has been a beautiful thing for me.”

The ESPN documentary features George along with rapper Nas as well as the Thunder’s general manager Sam Presti and its head coach Billy Donovan. One reason he chose to say is that Oklahoma City hasn’t won a championship in its short history.

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He said, “It’s more than just loyalty, it’s about doing what I think is right. I feel this is the best and perfect opportunity to cement myself and bring a championship where it hasn’t been brought. They’ve welcomed me with open arms, and I want them to feel that hype that I have toward what I think we can accomplish there. I want to be part of something that’s special and something that I’ve created. In Oklahoma, I think there is something I can create there.”

Plus, George expressed how much he likes and respects OKC star and NBA legend Russell Westbrook. He believes that he and Westbrook can build something big together, and the city believes in them too.

His words become the perfect foil for Kevin Durant’s shocking departure now two years ago on July 4. Nobody thought Durant would leave to the team that he helped blow a three-to-one lead to in the Western Conference Finals, but he did. It looks like in Paul George, OKC fans got the player they thought they had in KD — one who wants to put in the hard work building a legacy at Chesapeake Energy Arena instead of jumping to an already-winning team.