A lot of things have happened in the 11 days since Paul George was acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
George speaking, however, wasn’t one of those things.
In his first interview since the trade, George, a Palmdale, California, native, spoke to Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins on his future in Oklahoma City, and even gave some insight he had received from two surprising former Thunder players on what to expect playing in the Central Plains.
George was the prominent name dominating all the headlines entering NBA free agency on July 1. With rumors swirling about him joining the Cavs, Celtics or Lakers via trade, it seemed inevitable George would end up with a big market team.
Until Sam Presti decided otherwise.
What started as shock quickly turned into excitement for the sharp small forward.
“I’ve heard there might be people, like, at the airport,” George said when asked about his first appearance in Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
After Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard alerted George he was headed to Oklahoma City via trade, the Fresno State alumni immediately started calling around, doing some research.
The bulk of the information he received came from a very unlikely source: Kevin Durant.
“KD was like, ‘That place will blow you away,'” George said.
“He told me, ‘They can offer what other teams can’t in terms of the people and the preparation and the facility, down to the chefs and the meals.'”
“He was pretty high on them. He thought it was a first-class organization in every way,” George said about Durant.
With Durant came another unlikely source singing Oklahoma City’s praises: Reggie Jackson.
George talked to Jackson, who happens to be one of his best friends, and Jackson told the former Indiana star that he would “love it there.”
When Jenkins began to question George about his future in Oklahoma City, George was brutally honest.
“I grew up a Lakers and a Clippers fan,” George said.
“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.”
However, George’s tone about L.A. quickly changed.
“For me, it’s all about winning. I want to be in a good system, a good team. I want a shot to win 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,” George said about his Oklahoma City future.
“I’m thrilled,” George said.
“All I was asking for was a little help in Indy. Now I’m getting a lot of help in Oklahoma.”
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