Paul George is one game into the four-year contract he signed to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder worth just shy of $137 million. When Russell Westbrook comes back, they’ll be vying for one of eight playoff spots that the Los Angeles Lakers also have their eyes on.
But while George clearly chose to stay in OKC and will tell anyone who asks how happy he is with his decision, but just can’t stop talking about the team he spurned, most recently in an interview with Marc Spears of The Undefeated:
“It was 50-50 on deciding whether I wanted to come back home or if it was smarter to be in the situation I am in now,” George told The Undefeated. “But it wasn’t overstated. I wanted to play in L.A. That is where I wanted to go. Had that trade never went down, had I played one more year in Indy, I would have been in a Lakers uniform.”
Look, if George is asked the question, he’s going to answer it, but it definitely doesn’t sound like he’s sick of taking said questions.
To drive home that point, this wasn’t even the first time this week an interview with George has seen him reference how much he wanted to be a Laker until he decided not to do so (via Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated):
“I wanted to go back home,” George says. Home meant Palmdale, which meant Los Angeles, which meant the team of his basketball idol, Kobe Bryant. George dreamed in purple and gold, but he was reasonable enough to consider his alternatives. “If that didn’t work,” he adds, “I absolutely wouldn’t have minded playing for the Clippers.”
And he’s been talking about the team all summer too. Back in July, George explained how the Lakers not trading for him led to his eventual decision to re-up in OKC. Then, in August, George made sure to tell everyone how bummed the Lakers were that they never even got a meeting with him. Jeanie Buss has since confirmed the Lakers’ annoyance.
If I was a teammate on OKC, I’d be a little tweaked that George spends so much time thinking about a city he isn’t currently representing. But that’s besides the point.
The point here is: Move on Paul. The more you talk about the Lakers and give excuses why you didn’t sign with the Lakers, the closer to the forefront of Lakers fans’ minds it will be when you eventually play in Staples Center this season. Relitigating the situation and regurgitating these weird explanations that ignore context does no one any good.
Had the Lakers traded for him, they would be in an objectively worse situation than they are in now. Not giving the Lakers a meeting was perfectly within his rights, but had he merely listened to what they had planned, at the very least he could stop playing the what-if game now having known exactly what he would’ve been passing up on.
But none of that is possible now. So at this point, it’s better for all involved that they just move on. The Lakers embark on their first LeBron James-led season tonight in Portland. OKC is already underway and need to figure out how they’ll tread water until Westbrook and Andre Roberson return from injury. George will have to carry much of the burden while they’re out, but I can’t imagine he can do that very well the longer he spends wondering what might have been elsewhere.