Acquired from Indiana via trade June 30, George lent direct replies concerning his impending free-agency and appreciation of hometown Los Angeles teams, among other topics, to the SI journalist.
“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.”
Though, George emphasized success in Oklahoma City could override such sentiment:
For me, it’s all about winning. I want to be in a good system, a good team. 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.”
The 27-year-old standout noted the rebuilding Lakers aren’t advanced enough to meet his goal of winning now, but did mention a scenario in which he’d join the Purple and Gold:
“It’s too early for L.A., (Lakers), It would have to be a situation where the ball gets rolling and guys are hopping on.”
Obviously, such a situation would involve collective All-Stars joining Los Angeles with the express purpose of challenging juggernaut Golden State:
George, however, reiterated his optimism for the season ahead, and suggested his fit alongside NBA MVP Russell Westbrook could prove ideal. The four-time All-Star even cited OKC as a potential landing spot for future talent.
“I’m in OKC, so hopefully me and Russ do a good enough job and make it to the conference finals and love the situation, why not recruit someone to come build it with us? I’m open in this whole process.”
George concerning offensive fit:
“I think I fit with how he (Westbrook) plays and vice versa. Being a knock-down shooter, I think I can spread the floor for him and run the floor with him. But I also think I can help get him easier opportunities, being able to drive and dish the ball out, so he can attack guys closing out on him.”
George on Oklahoma City’s lofty defensive expectations:
“Our (OKC Thunder) defense, is going to be insane.”
Paul George joins Patrick Patterson, and Raymond Felton as key offseason additions to an Oklahoma City Thunder unit seeking leverage over other revamped Western Conference franchises.
Last season, the 6’9 former All-NBA forward averaged 23.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 3.3 APG while making a career-high 200 3PA. Although, following a disappointing 42-40 finish, and first-round playoff exit vs. Cleveland, George openly announced his desire to leave Indiana.
Now, pursuing immediate contention, the Thunder assumes George’s final year under contract.
To read the entire interview between Jenkins and George, visit this link: SI.Com.