New Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George recently opened up to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated about a wide array of different topics.
Anything from what Kevin Durant told him about Oklahoma City to his thoughts on the Los Angeles Lakers were fair game. Though, it was Durant’s stance on his former Thunder team that should raise some eyebrows.
“KD was like, ‘That place will blow you away,’” George said. “He told me, ‘They can offer what other teams can’t in terms of the people and the preparation and the facility, down to the chefs and the meals.’”
Durant didn’t necessarily leave the Thunder on the greatest notes. After signing with the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors, the reigning NBA Finals MVP had a falling out with Russell Westbrook. Meanwhile, he was not met with applause when the Warriors made their first trip to Oklahoma City last season.
The Thunder acquired George from Indiana earlier in the month in what was a lopsided trade. He immediately takes over the small forward position that Durant held down for so long in Oklahoma City.
George himself is a free agent following the 2017-18 season and has reported interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s a topic he surely didn’t avoid when speaking to Jenkins from a Southern California location.
“I grew up a Lakers and a Clippers fan,” George says. “I idolized Kobe. There will always be a tie here, a connection here. People saying I want to come here, who doesn’t want to play for their hometown? That’s a dream come true, if you’re a kid growing up on the outskirts of L.A., to be the man in your city. But it’s definitely been overstated. For me, it’s all about winning”
Westbrook and George have one season to make noise in a Western Conference that has been absolutely dominated by Golden State over the past three seasons. Both will likely hit the free agent market next summer, so the time is now to compete out west.
Though, by the way George himself talks, it’s not a foregone conclusion that he will be one-and-done in Oklahoma City. That has to be music to the ears of fans in a city that saw a franchise stalwart leave for a conference rival last summer.