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Paul George has the Los Angeles Laker fans puzzled. One minute he wants to play for his hometown. The next minute he blames the organization for not acquiring his services. His recent comments make as much sense as a Patriots fan with Seahawk tattoos.
Less than a week ago, George signed a four-year $137 million extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. During an ESPN series, Paul expressed his gratitude to the LA fans. “I appreciate Laker nation for wanting me to come home.”
The series took a different turn when he started pointing fingers. “I wanted to come here a year ago, prior to going to OKC. Unfortunately, I wasn't traded to the Lakers. They didn't grab me.”
Firstly, the Indiana Pacers didn’t want to trade Paul George to the Lakers in the first place. They knew that’s where he wanted to go so they made it difficult for the deal to be done. They wanted no part of sending their superstar to the franchise who once swept them in the NBA Finals.
In fact, they complained to the NBA about tampering. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pacers filed tampering charges against the Lakers. They were fined half a million dollars for being in contract with George’s agent. The Pacers wanted them to back off their star player.
Similarly, the Pacers felt the same way the San Antonio Spurs do right now. The Spurs have Kawhi Leonard but has no interest in dealing him to the Lakers either. Unless it’s a “grandfather deal,” it likely won’t happen.
Secondly, even if the Lakers had a chance to get Paul George, it didn’t make sense to mortgage their future. Why trade multiple first-round picks and young assets for a player who appeared likely to sign via free agency?
Lastly, how can PG-13 say they didn’t grab him when he chose to sign with the Thunder? He had his chance to play for his hometown without any trades complications. He had control of his destiny.
In fact, all signs pointed to Paul remaining in Oklahoma. Stephen A. Smith predicted as much several months ago.
When George signed a long-term deal with OKC, that was okay. He did what was best for him. However, he shouldn’t have tried to create the narrative that the Lakers missed the chance to get him. Don’t make excuses. His words may have said LA but his actions screamed for the Thunder.