Nearly two months after declining meetings with other teams and staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul George said the Los Angeles Lakers were “pissed” they didn’t have the opportunity to make a pitch to him.
“L.A. was pissed at me,” he said on the Short Story Long podcast. “I didn’t give Magic [Johnson] a meeting, which I understand. 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.”
George was traded to the Thunder in July 2017 after informing the Indiana Pacers he wouldn’t re-sign with them in free agency after the 2017-18 season. Many expected George, a Los Angeles-area native, to leave Oklahoma City for the Lakers after the season, but George reached an agreement with the Thunder shortly after free agency opened on July 1.
He announced his decision at a house party in Oklahoma hosted by teammate Russell Westbrook. George also posted a photo that night of him and Westbrook on Instagram with the caption “Unfinished business.”
“Coming down to free agency, I didn’t want to waste any time,” George said on the podcast. “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.”
The Thunder lost to the Jazz in six games in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers, meanwhile, didn’t come away empty-handed in free agency, landing LeBron James in July.