Paul George says he chose Thunder because of comfort level, wanting to see “what if?”

Kurt Helin
NBC Sports

Paul George and his camp were not subtle. When he was forcing his way out of Indiana, they told anyone and everyone he was going to the Lakers as a free agent. Everyone heard it, including the Lakers and their fans, who then saw George as a sure thing. Oklahoma City and its man with the hammer Sam Presti took a chance, traded Victor Oladipo away (which worked out well for Indiana) and trusted they and Russell Westbrook could win him over with their team, culture, and city.

They did. George re-signed with OKC without even meeting with the Lakers (which surprised the franchise and their fans, but the writing was on the wall at the end).

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It worked for George, who is playing with a new level of confidence this season, not just trying to fit in next to Westbrook. He is averaging 28.8 points per game, 8.4 rebounds, is defending so well he is in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion, and he has made himself a legitimate MVP candidate.

Still, PG13 gets asked about not becoming a Laker, especially with Los Angeles fans looking at the wreckage of this season and thinking “what if?” But it was George’s own “what if” — after the Jazz eliminated the Thunder last playoffs — that sealed George’s re-signing with Oklahoma City, he told Master Tesfatsion at Bleacher Report.

“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 says. “That’s what made this decision a little easier—that I didn’t give everything I had….

Once I get locked on to something, I try to stay there for that reason. If I think about any other decision, my head will be spinning. Once I got locked on to staying, I was all-in for it….

“I think my words kind of threw people off because they read one sentence, and it’s, ‘Oh, he’s going to L.A.,'” George says. “I wanted to go to L.A. I said that, and I voiced that ever since the Pacers were just about to trade me. But, it didn’t happen. I went somewhere else. I loved the situation. I was wowed by the situation. That’s where I feel comfortable at.”

George was a free agent and had earned the right to make any decision he wanted. He chose a quieter community because that’s where he was comfortable.

One look at his play this season and it’s obvious he made the right decision for himself. Which is all that ultimately matters.

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