Paul George Shades Lakers Over Free Agency, Trades

Getty Clippers star Paul George.

It appears it was Paul George’s plan to play with Kawhi Leonard all along, although it took some time to make that reality manifest.

George was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers this offseason to combine forces with the most recent NBA Finals MVP, but according to a newly-released interview with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, it appears he had interest for years to play with Leonard.

George said he wanted to go to the Spurs over the Lakers. However, the Spurs could not offer an enticing package to push the deal through.

“I wanted to be traded to San Antonio. We wanted to go to San Antonio first, and we didn’t make that happen,” George said. “Since that moment, we were trying to pair up with one another. We were trying to make it work. I had obligations that I wanted to come back to Oklahoma and give it another shot, and then I felt that I needed to move on. I needed to go in another direction and I needed to at that point do what I wanted to do my whole career.”

Paul George on tips he got from Kobe, when he first met Kawhi, and the Lakers | NBA on ESPNDuring the offseason, Ohm Youngmisuk sat down on a boat off Waikiki with LA Clippers forward Paul George for an exclusive interview to discuss his love of the water, the group chat he started with Kawhi Leonard after they both agreed to team up in Los Angeles, the competitiveness of Doc Rivers' team and how his attitude fits in, practicing against Kawhi, who would get the assignment to guard LeBron James late in a game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, the team's commitment to defense, how a Fresno State vs. San Diego State game in the 2009-10 college basketball season convinced George that Kawhi would be special, whether Kawhi Leonard really is "a fun guy," when the idea of joining Kawhi was born, how hard it was to leave Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, what changed about him wanting to go to the Lakers, if he really grew up a Clippers fan while idolizing Kobe Bryant, tips he got from Kobe at his Mamba Academy, tips he got from Jerry West, and whether the Clippers can win an NBA title. #NBA #Sports ✔ Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔ Get the ESPN App: ✔ Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔ Subscribe to ESPN FC on YouTube: ✔ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: ✔ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: Exclusive interviews with Rachel Nichols Stephen A. Smith on ESPN ESPN on Social Media: ► Follow on Twitter: ► Like on Facebook: ► Follow on Instagram: Visit ESPN on YouTube to get up-to-the-minute sports news coverage, scores, highlights and commentary for NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, College Football, NCAA Basketball, soccer and more. More on http://www.espn.com2019-11-20T13:00:12Z

Paul George: Lakers ‘Didn’t Make it Happen’

There was a long-established belief that George wanted to end up in Los Angeles, in particular with the Lakers.

However, George said that he hung on to the fact that the Lakers did not trade for him in 2017 when he was being made available by the Pacers. He instead ended up with the Thunder, who gave up Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo — future franchise pieces for Indiana.

“As for as the Lakers, I wanted to go to L.A. They didn’t make that happen, they didn’t put nothing together. And so, that’s in the back of my mind. That they didn’t trade for me,” George said. “When that next time came around, it wasn’t that it was a grudge, but I had other options and other guys talking. I was having meetings with other players and it made more sense to go elsewhere.”

Paul George, Kawhi Leonard Set for Debut Together

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The Battle for L.A. is now at the center of the basketball world, with both the Clippers and Lakers being touted as NBA title favorites.

George has played three games, averaging 29.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists, maintaining the MVP ability he showed last season in Oklahoma City.

Leonard has played nine games this season, but has been banged up with a knee injury. The duo are planning to make their debut together on Wednesday night against New Orleans.

Despite not playing together yet, George noted that he’s got to know Leonard behind his monotone public persona.

“He really is a fun guy,” George says. “The legend is true, man. The legend is true. He laughs, he jokes, he talks mess.”

The Lakers have the best record in the NBA at 12-2, with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis flashing their all-world talent. One of those losses came to the George-less Clippers in the season opener, 112-102. The next matchup between the L.A. rivals is slated for the prime-time Christmas Day slate.

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