We’ve been down this road before. Kevin Durant said one thing and did another. Russell Westbrook said one thing and did that thing. So, who knows what to believe? Paul George on Friday after practice gave some insights to his potential future.
“As I told Rachel (Nichols), I can see myself being here. I’ve been happy here, I’ve been happy with the organization, happy with my teammates,” George said. “Our record is not what we want it to be, but I think I’ve enjoyed just learning and being around these guys. So, my answer is still the same.”
George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 30. While the Thunder haven’t been the most successful in terms of what they want this season, they have been really good when healthy. They were on one of the hottest streaks over the last few seasons before the Andre Roberson injury.
“It was just an opportunity to see what it’s like being here and just to naturally fall in love with it,” George said of being traded to the Thunder. “And it’s been that. It’s been a lot of love here.”
Love is a strong word, even in the basketball community. Players like to remain even, so there isn’t too much read into their comments. Still, a strong comment from George.
“You’ve got to look at what we can be, imagine what we would be if Andre was here playing with now,” George said. “You’ve got to look at the team coming back, with free agency coming up with other guys who we could possibly go grab and who could we, myself, Melo, Russ, who can we recruit with us here.”
George has been largely inconsistent but really just a wholesome worker. He doesn’t make excuses and takes the blame when needed, such as after the bad egg he laid against the Warriors on April 3. He’s only the third person in Oklahoma City history to be named to the All-Star game.
“This is our first year together,” George said. “This is Year 1 for this group. We’ve got a chance to win it all, but realistically it takes time for things to build and chemistry to mesh. Just for everybody to be on the same page.”
With the loss of Roberson, the Thunder’s trajectory changed. They’ve largely struggled on the defensive side. George isn’t able to take as many gambles as the defense has to protect what little assets it has. While the trophy may not be 100 percent in the rear view mirror, their goal and hopefully George, a larger picture remains.
“This wasn’t a championship or bust coming into this for me,” George said. “There is just an opportunity to see what it’s like to be here and just to naturally fall in love with it and it’s been that. It’s been a lot of love here.”
Year 1 of how many? That’s the real factor here. Is it only one or will this be a multi-year relationship in which both could potentially help one another get to a championship?
That’s up to George.
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