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Paul George wanted Lakers, but failure to trade for him played role in decision to stay with Thunder

Paul George, Thunder

The All-Star forward revealed during Part 3 of his ESPN documentary what led to him choosing the Thunder over the Lakers.

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Less than an hour prior to the start of free agency, All-Star forward Paul George made the decision to agree to re-sign a four-year, $137 million deal to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Throughout the process since the end of the Thunder’s 2018-19 season, George has filmed his decision-making process as part of a three-part documentary special produced by ESPN. In the third part of the documentary that was released on Tuesday afternoon, George state what sounds like the reasoning to why he didn’t pursue a chance to join the Los Angeles Lakers this summer.

“It’s been very stressful. It’s not an easy decision. I 100 percent appreciate Laker Nation for wanting me to come back home, wanting me to play in front of them. I wanted to come here a year ago prior to going to OKC. I unfortunately 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 notion had long been in place that George had a strong desire to join the Lakers, which became a major part of why he chose not to commit long-term with the Indiana Pacers. As a result, this had opened the door for the Thunder to swoop in to trade for him. 

These comments from George don’t exactly provide a full concise answer as to why he didn’t seriously considering coming to the Lakers where he had the possible opportunity play alongside with fellow All-Star forward LeBron James, who had also been connected to Los Angeles for the last several months. Instead, the 28-year-old choice to completely bypass free agency without even given the team he had long desired to play for to a chance to sit down and talk with him. 

There is likely more to George’s decision-making process than what he is letting on, but it’s clear that the Thunder’s management along with All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook both made a strong enough impression to persuade him to stay on board for the long haul. 

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Bob Garcia IV

Staff Writer at Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He is also currently covering the NBA and NFL for ClutchPoints. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarciaivsports.
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