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Paul George on choosing Thunder: ‘L.A. can hate me or love me’

Thunder, Paul George

Paul George has no regrets about his decision to continue his career in Oklahoma City last summer. The Los Angeles Lakers tried to woo him back to his hometown, but he ultimately opted to re-sign with the Thunder. The Thunder forward made his decision loud and clear, soon taking part in a midnight party thrown by his co-star Russell Westbrook, celebrating what would be a four-year, $137 million agreement to remain in OKC.

“Oklahoma City is where I feel comfortable at,” George told Master Tesfatsion of Bleacher Report. “L.A. can hate me or love me. The decision was ultimately mine.”

The Lakers were so sure George would join them in free agency at one point, that they backed out of trade talks with the Indiana Pacers, fully aware that the 6-foot-9 forward intended to sign there.

What a difference a year made, as George decided to continue his partnership with Westbrook and explore what could await them together in OKC.

“Looking back on it, if I would’ve made another decision, I would have looked back at that one year in Oklahoma and thought, What if?” George said. “That’s what made this decision a little easier — that I didn’t give everything I had.”

George played his first season slightly hesitant, forced to share the spotlight with Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, a formula that didn’t pan out after a first-round exit. Yet this second season has seen the partnership between George and Westbrook flourish, now even putting George in the MVP conversation.