Thunder F Paul George played with the Pacers for seven years. During that time, George and the Pacers went to the Eastern Conference Finals twice, but ran into LeBron and the Heat. Over time, the Pacers got old, and ultimately, they went from the top of the Eastern Conference to barely making the playoffs the past two years.
George, who told the Pacers that he would not return to the team at the end of next season, explained to SI’s Lee Jenkins why he was going to leave the Pacers in the summer of 2018:
“Here I am, the last guy, and I kind of felt a rebuild coming. I felt like the window had closed. I thought they were going in a different direction and I wanted to go in a different direction.”
Ultimately, George was traded to OKC, and is very happy to get the help that he needs to compete:
“I’m thrilled,” George says. “All I was asking for was a little help in Indy. Now I’m getting a lot of help in Oklahoma.”
If things go well in OKC, George would be willing to stay with the Thunder:
“I grew up a Lakers and a Clippers fan. 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. I want to be in a good system, a good team. I want a shot to win it. I’m not a stats guy. I’m playing this game to win and build a legacy of winning. I’ve yet to do that. I’m searching for it. If we get a killer season in Oklahoma, we make the conference finals or upset the Warriors or do something crazy, I’d be dumb to want to leave that.”
If a few things go right, the Thunder could make it to the conference finals, but beating the Warriors is a long shot!i