Paul George Says Kevin Durant Encouraged Him To Go To Oklahoma City
The Oklahoma City Thunderís acquisition of Paul George a couple of weeks ago was one of the most surprising offseason moves because not too many people thought the Thunder were in contention for the All-Star, who was courted by the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Check out our sportsbooks odds for the 2018 NBA games if you want to bet on basketball this season.
Interestingly, George likely wouldnít have been interested in playing for the Thunder if it wasnít for former Thunder star and current pariah Kevin Durant, whose exit from the team during the 2016 offseason left a bitter taste in the mouth of Thunder fans.
According to Sports Illustratedís Lee Jenkins, George said Durant told him Oklahoma City was the place to be because the cityís hospitality would blow him away. George added that Durant told him the Thunder could offer him something else other teams couldnít in terms of facilities, preparation, and fans.
Durant was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics who moved to Oklahoma City the next season. In his nine years with the Thunder, Durant led the team to the NBA Finals in 2012, and was a game away from making it back to the Finals before the Thunder blew a 3-1 lead to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
During the offseason, he announced that he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, which didnít sit well with the Thunder fans.
Even though he left the Thunder to sign with the Warriors last season, and received a lot of hate for it, Durant told George the Thunder were a first class organization.
George got a taste what Durant went through with fans last summer and during the season after he told the Indiana Pacers he would not resign when he becomes a free agent because he planned to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
George, who was the best player on the Pacers, said he felt frustrated about what was going on with the Pacersí roster and didnít think the team was going to contend for a championship anytime soon.
In his interview with Jenkins, George said he understands where the fans are coming from when the best player on their team decides to leave, but he also wanted the fans to understand things from the playerís perspective.
The Thunder forward said NBA players have a short window to play the game, and as a professional, his main goal is to win a championship. He had been hoping to win his first championship with Indiana, but the team couldnít get past the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
After being eliminated by the Heat twice in the ECF, the Pacers decided to go into a rebuild instead of adding pieces to make the team a championship contender.
For those who complain about the way athletes decide to leave their teams, George said there is no right way to leave because there will always be people upset about the athlete leaving.
When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, fans were upset he did it on live television. When Durant left, they were upset he announced it in an article published in the Playersí Tribune.
As far as Durant is concerned, he feels he made the right decision. In a separate interview with The Undefeated, Durant said his decision to leave for Golden State is 100 percent the right one.