In the summer of 2018, Paul George will become one of the most sought-after unrestricted free agents on the market.
Averaging 20.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in his first season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, George previously made it very clear that he’s interested in playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
After all, he grew up in Palmdale, approximately 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
Ahead of OKC’s game against the Lakers on Wednesday night, George explained how special it always is to play at Staples Center.
"You've got your stars courtside, it's a historic building, the energy is great," George explained, per ESPN’s Royce Young. "And it's a chance to really showcase yourself in one of the highest, best markets. It just so happens that that's home for me, so there's family, there's friends, there's teachers, people I grew up around. It's just a nice environment for me.”
When asked whether or not he wishes that he didn’t explicitly state that he’d love to play in LA, George didn’t show any remorse.
"Nah, no regrets at all," he said, via Young. "All that was said was a destination that I would love to go to. There wasn't a, 'Hey, gun pointed to the head, send me here.' I just stated somewhere I wanted to go play. You ask 80, 70 percent of guys in the league if they would love to go back home and play for their city, play for their home -- that's all I stated, that I would've loved to go back home and play for my city. So no regrets at all, no regrets at all.”
Happiness is his number one concern.
"It comes down to being just grateful and happy where you're at," George said regarding his future options. "You just never know. I've been on a team in Indiana where I thought we'd be together my whole career, but you just never know. You've got to be grateful and live in the moment, and that moment for me is starting to get with this group.
“Being out there with Melo [Anthony], with Russ, the talent that we have, you're in that moment, living in that moment, and it's crazy to think where we can get to the more we build. We've only been together a couple of months, and you've got to think of the bigger picture when it comes to a situation like this."
Teammate Russell Westbrook was asked whether or not he will have to make a sales pitch to George in order for him to re-sign with the Thunder.
"No. Sales pitch is gonna be when we win a championship," Westbrook said. "Beat that pitch.”
Therefore, the reigning MVP has the utmost confidence in himself and his supporting cast. If the Thunder don’t win it all, Westbrook might be out of ideas.
Oklahoma City went on to absolutely dominate Los Angeles to the tune of 133-96 on Wednesday night. George had 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting along with two rebounds, three assists and three steals in just 27 minutes in front of his friends and family.