Paul George wanted trade to Spurs in 2017 so he could pair with Kawhi Leonard
In the summer of 2017, Paul George was involved in one of the biggest trades of that particular offseason, as he made his move from the Indiana Pacers — a team he had spent the first seven years of his career — to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As it turns out, however, teaming up with Russell Westbrook in OKC was not George’s first choice. This comes directly from the horse’s mouth, with George himself admitting that a move to the San Antonio Spurs was actually what he initially set his mind to:
“I wanted to be traded to San Antonio,” George says, via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “We wanted to go to San Antonio first, and we didn’t make that happen.”
What makes this even more interesting is the fact that George’s primary motivation back then was to be able to team up with then-Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard. Unfortunately, San Antonio lacked the necessary assets to acquire George, giving Thunder general manager Sam Presti the opportunity to swoop in on George.
Nevertheless, George admits that teaming up with Leonard remained on his mind:
“Since that moment, we were trying to pair up with one another,” George says. “We were trying to make it work. [After being traded to Oklahoma City] I had obligations that I wanted to come back to Oklahoma and give it another shot… And then I felt that I needed to move on, I needed to go in another direction and I needed to at that point do what I wanted to do my whole career.”
Fast-forward two years and these two superstars finally got their wish, as they’re now teamed up on the Los Angeles Clippers. As George noted during his official introduction, it seems this was “destined” to happen.