Paul George will return home to Los Angeles on Wednesday to take on the Lakers for the first time since he snubbed them during free agency last summer and, like most fans in the greater Los Angeles area, Luke Walton could not care less.
After practice on Tuesday, Walton said that he doesn’t lose sleep at night wondering why George decided to pass on an opportunity to sign with the Lakers in free agency.
“I don’t think much of that,” Walton said. “You prep yourself, you do your work and then whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen. You don’t get too emotionally attached to it. We went after players, LeBron decided to come, Paul didn’t. That’s our team now and we’re very happy we have LeBron James on our team.”
George has been one of the most dominant two-way wings in the NBA this season and a dark horse MVP candidate, but the Lakers have managed to win games without a second player of George’s caliber alongside James. Only two games separate the Oklahoma City Thunder (23-13) and the Lakers (21-16) in the standings.
George’s decision to re-sign with OKC also allowed the Lakers to maintain the financial flexibility to sign an All-Star free agent in the near future. Next summer, they will have roughly $38.2 million in cap space to try and lure another high-caliber player to L.A like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson.
Would George be a good fit on this roster? Absolutely. One might even go as far to say he’d be the perfect complement to James, but the Lakers are happy with what they have right now and they have every reason to feel that way.
Hopefully the Lakers can make George regret his decision when they see him on Wednesday.