Paul George: ‘I want to play for the home team and put a Laker jersey on’

In the second part of his ESPN series chronicling upcoming free agency, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George told fellow pending free agent Dwyane Wade that he
“wants to win a championship.”

Okay, so that doesn’t necessarily seem like must-watch television, right?

That’s until George’s conversations with Wade took a turn to specifics.

“In a way, it’s like, I want to come here, I want to play for the home team and put a Laker jersey on. That’s always gonna be something that I want to fulfill,” George said while hanging out with Wade in Southern California, via The Oklahoman.

Given that things seem to be trending in the direction of George returning to the Thunder, this is somewhat of a shocking statement for the All-NBA performer to make. Then again, George has told those close to him that he wants to return home to Southern California as a member of the Lakers. This dates back to the forward’s days with the Indiana Pacers.

Though, it’s not yet time for fans in Oklahoma City to freak out.

“But at the same time, it’s like, what’s the best move, though? I know who I am as a player,” George continued. “I just want to help the team win. And I feel comfortable doing so with Russ.”

That’s the crux of the issue for George. There’s been a lot of talk about him teaming up with LeBron James in Los Angeles. If that were to come to fruition, would it provide him with a better opportunity to win a title than remaining with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City?

For George, there’s a certain comfort level in OKC. He gets along well with Westbrook. There’s no telling how a George-James relationship would work in Hollywood. It’s also important to note that the Lakers are seemingly going all in to team James up with Kawhi Leonard. Would that leave room for George in Southern California? We’re not too sure.

Even then, George finds a way to point out the obvious.

“When I first fell in love with the game and I’m outside playing in front of the house, I’m not picturing myself in an Indiana jersey or picturing myself in a Thunder jersey,” George said. “I pictured myself in a Lakers jersey.”

Given an opportunity, most of us would draw the same conclusion. In no way does this mean George believes the Lakers are his best fit. It’s simply human nature to want to return home.

Now that teams can talk to free agents in about 48 hours, the rumor mill will continue to heat up. As one of the top players on the market, George’s name will be bandied about a whole lot.