We all know what happened in the 2018 offseason: LeBron James chose the Los Angeles Lakers, Kawhi Leonard was traded for DeMar Derozan and, surprisingly, Paul George stayed put in Oklahoma City to play alongside Russell Westbrook (he must be a better teammate than people think).
Though many expected Paul George to scoot home to the L.A. area, he shocked the world when he announced at a house party that Westbrook was hosting that he would be staying in OKC on a 4-year/$137 million deal.
After a massive trade in the summer of 2017, it was widely reported that obtaining Paul George would be a one-year rental for the Thunder. When combined with the team’s rather unimpressive performance in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, a swift exit to the sunnier climes of Los Angeles would’ve seemed like a foregone conclusion. Not so fast.
Because PG-13 made his decision so quickly (in the wee hours of the morning on July 1), he didn’t even take a meeting with the Lakers and their president of basketball operations, which, according to comments made by George on Chris Pfaff’s Short Story Long podcast, made Magic and the Lakers none too happy:
“L.A. was pissed at me. I didn’t give Magic a shot, which I understand. But at that point, I knew I wanted to give it another shot [with the Thunder]. I didn’t want to prolong it and waste people’s time.”
That’s certainly an understandable reaction. Though the season didn’t end the way the Thunder would’ve wanted, they’ve clearly improved this offseason — with the loss of a less-effective (and not “crusty”) Carmelo Anthony, the addition of talented scorer Dennis Schröder and the pending return of defensive wizard Andre Roberson, the Thunder look to be in good shape heading into next season.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have a lot of questions marks on their roster. Either way, with both The King and Magic helping to sway players to take meetings with the Lakers, methinks L.A. will be just fine.