Not meeting angered Lakers, says Thunder’s George

Paul George left the Indiana Pacers for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017. (Reuters pic)

LOS ANGELES: In the summer of 2017, Paul George told the Indiana Pacers that when he hit free agency in 2018, he’d be leaving town and heading back home to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, so the Pacers traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But this summer, once he became a free agent, the 2.06-metre forward decided to re-sign with the Thunder.

George, who grew up in Palmdale, California, said the Lakers weren’t happy with him.

George said on Wednesday on the “Short Story Long” podcast: “I didn’t give Magic (Johnson) a (meeting), which I understand. But at that point, I knew I wanted to give (playing with the Thunder) another shot. I didn’t want to prolong it and waste people’s time.”

Shortly after free agency started on July 1, he announced his decision to remain with the Thunder at a party hosted by teammate Russell Westbrook. At the time, he posted a photo of the two of them on Instagram, captioning it “Unfinished business.”

“Coming down to free agency, I didn’t want to waste any time,” George, 28, said on the podcast. “I wanted to give it another shot. I gave them one year. We played well against the best teams. I wanted to give it a real shot.”

The Thunder made the playoffs last season and lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round in six games. In the regular season, George played in 79 games, averaging 21.9 points and 5.7 rebounds.