Paul George says the Lakers were angry that he refused to meet with them before re-signing with the Thunder but adds that his mind was already made up. Appearing on the Short Story Long podcast, George contends there were hard feelings from team president Magic Johnson and the L.A. organization about his decision.
“I didn’t give Magic [Johnson] a meeting, which I understand,” George said. “But at that point, I knew I wanted to give it another shot [in Oklahoma City]. I didn’t want to prolong it and waste people’s time.”
A native of the Los Angeles area, George had once been considered very likely to join the Lakers when he hit free agency. The reason he was traded to the Thunder last summer is that his agent informed Pacers management that he had no plans to re-sign in Indiana.
However, George enjoyed his experience in OKC, even though the team was ousted from the playoffs in the first round. He was the first big-name free agent to announce his decision this year, making it official shortly after midnight Eastern time on July 1 at a party thrown by teammate Russell Westbrook.
The Thunder gave George a four-year deal worth $137M with a player option for the final season. He played 79 games in his first season in Oklahoma City, posting a 21.9/5.7/3.3 line.
“Coming down to free agency, I didn’t want to waste any time,” George added. “I wanted to give it another shot. I gave them one year. We played well against the best teams. I wanted to give it a real shot.”