The 2017 NBA offseason marked Paul George’s departure from the team that selected him as the No. 10 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Indiana Pacers. After a series of trade negotiations, the Pacers ended up sending George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Before the deal became official, George revealed in a recent interview with Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN that there were two teams that he considered as his more preferred landing spots than the Thunder – the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs.
The inclusion of the Spurs on George’s list of favorite trade destinations in the summer of 2017 is indeed a big revelation, especially knowing that his current Los Angeles Clippers teammate, reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, was part of the team during that time. It turned out that George and Leonard had been planning to play together in one team as early as the 2017 NBA offseason. Unfortunately, George and Leonard’s dream to team up in San Antonio failed to become a reality as the Spurs reportedly “lacked the assets” to make it happen.
“I wanted to be traded to San Antonio,” George said.
“We wanted to go to San Antonio first, and we didn’t make that happen.”
George and Leonard still found a way to push through with their plan, this time with one of the teams situated in their hometown, the Clippers. Before Leonard agreed to sign a contract with the Clippers, he urged them to engage in a blockbuster deal with the Thunder and acquire George. Though they knew that trading for George would require them to throw plenty of valuable trade assets, the Clippers still took a big risk, believing that that type of opportunity was too good to pass.
With George and Leonard joining the core of Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell, the Clippers immediately emerged as one of the top favorites to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. Because of injuries and load management, George and Leonard are yet to play together as members of the Clippers this season. Luckily, the waiting game for the Clippers’ fans will soon be over as both superstars will reportedly be available when they face the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, George’s recent revelations would undeniably break the hearts of most Spurs’ fans. Had the Spurs succeeded to acquire George from the Pacers in 2017, Leonard might have chosen to sign a contract extension in San Antonio and didn’t demand a trade in the summer of 2018. Having George and Leonard on their side, the Spurs would not only extend their playoff streak, but they might have also returned to the NBA Finals and won multiple NBA championship titles.