“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.”
Paul George has been the topic of conversation over the last couple of weeks in Oklahoma City. Tuesday, July 11, he made headlines again.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that teams believe “there is at least a 75 percent chance George stays true to his LA plans.”
George had a slightly different take on his future with this quote:
I grew up a Lakers and a Clippers fan, 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., 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. 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.
George was clear in that statement. All-in-all, he loves L.A., it’s his hometown, but he’s an NBA player and he wants to win games and championships first and foremost.
The whole narrative surrounding George and the reason his relationship with Indiana deteriorated over the course of last season was solely based on him wanting to go back home and play in Los Angeles. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind when he was there, so why would he be afraid to speak his mind in Oklahoma City?
Yes, George could be trying to win the Thunder staff, team and fans over since he just got signed, but this descriptive quote forces one to ponder on the possibility of him making OKC his long-term destination.
In Indiana, he didn’t have much. It was primarily him. In OKC, he’s playing alongside fellow Los Angelan Russell Westbrook. NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection Andre Roberson, a well-known coach in Billy Donovan and one of the best sixth men in the NBA, Enes Kanter. Not to mention, Steven Adams is no slouch in the post either.
It’s essential not to jump to conclusions before the season starts. The definitive thought that George is a rental this year needs some second guessing and so does acting like anyone knows what Sam Presti has in store for the Thunder. Nine times out of ten, he wouldn’t make a major move like this unless he’s sure of something or has a plan B.
Not to mention, Oklahoma City seems to not care whether or not he stays or leaves right now. They are excited for him to be here this season.