Paul George, LeBron Talked Joining Lakers before 2017

Paul George says he would have joined Lakers if he wasn't traded

We wouldn't have traded for Paul George if we didn't believe in our community, our organizational values, our ownership ... if you expect Paul George or any player to have any confidence in you as an organization, you have to demonstrate it yourself.

According to Spears, the Lakers had the goods to deal for George, with Brandon Ingram already on the roster or the No. 2 pick they used to draft Lonzo Ball as the potential centerpieces of a deal, but Magic Johnson didn't pull the trigger, opting instead to repeatedly tamper and hope George signed in free agency. Before that trade, George was most intrigued by the thought of being dealt to the Lakers. The star guard/forward reportedly told his old team, the Indiana Pacers, that he planned on leaving the franchise in free agency, and that he wanted to sign with the Lakers in his hometown of LA.

Bit George said he fell in love with the Thunder and playing with Russell Westbrook.

George said he spoke with LeBron James about his possible future plans before his trade to the Thunder, but they never had a similar conversation afterward. Last [season], I didn't get a chance to start with this team fresh. "I kind of felt good where we were at".

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In his first season in OKC, George averaged 21.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as the Thunder finished fourth in the Western Conference - though they were bounced by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs. "I wanted to get to it right away this time and start creating early".

But ESPN analyst Max Kellerman has slammed George for his decision to stay with the Thunder as opposed to joining the Lakers. They'll have to do much better than just the first round of the Playoffs this year if they want to keep George and Westbrook content, however.

The Lakers meanwhile managed to sign LeBron James in the summer, catapulting their re-build to being on the verge of contending in the Western Conference.

"It was a hell of a gamble", George said.

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