The Los Angeles Lakers went into the summer with ambitions of landing two star free agents. While they ended up catching the biggest fish in free agency in LeBron James, they missed out on Paul George, who for a time seemed like a lock to team up with James in L.A.
In hindsight, everything worked out for the Lakers, but Jeanie Buss admitted to Sam Amick of The Athletic that the way things started was a tough pill to swallow initially.
But the real guest of honor was George, who announced his decision to re-sign with the Thunder while standing next to Westbrook on a stage that was flooded with…purple lights. For the Lakers, who had been fined $500,000 for tampering by the NBA the previous summer when the league discovered improper communication between Pelinka and George’s agent, the fear of missing out was real.
“When Paul George didn’t meet with Magic, that hurt,” Jeanie said. “I felt bad for Magic. …It was a little bit discouraging.”
This backs up comments made by George earlier in the summer, when he said the Lakers were “pissed” they didn’t get a meeting with him. That said, it’s tough to imagine they were upset about it for too long.
Signing LeBron James and then missing out on Paul George is like going to Disneyland and finding out your favorite rides is closing down. Sure, it might hurt for an hour two, but at the end of the day, you’re still at Disneyland! Who doesn’t love Disneyland?
Plus, in one year’s time, the ride will be replaced with a new attraction, one that doesn’t waste your time with a three-part series on SportsCenter only to announce that it’s going to be staying in Oklahoma City for the next four years after hinting that it would relocating to Los Angeles all season long in a sad cry for attention. This is no longer about a ride (it was never about a ride).
Would it have been nice to see George return home to lead the Lakers back to the promised land alongside James? Absolutely, but then again, the Lakers have LeBron James and 29 other teams don’t.
If I had to guess, Jeanie, Magic and Rob aren’t losing sleep over that.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.