Paul George Says His Desire to Play for the Lakers Has ‘Definitely Been Overstated’

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Earlier this offseason, Paul George seemed destined, sooner or later, for a Los Angeles Lakers uniform.

Even after he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, most speculated the former Indiana Pacers star would bolt to LA in free agency in the summer of 2018.

But George recently told Sports Illustrated that such a scenario isn’t as likely as the NBA world seems to think it is. According to George, it would take a staggering improvement from the Lakers’ young core and/or the addition of another star or two.

“It’s too early for L.A.,” George told SI. “It would have to be a situation where the ball gets rolling and guys are hopping on. This guy commits, that guy commits. ‘Oh s—, now there’s a team forming.’ It has to be like that.”

LeBron James, whose relationship with the Cavaliers has apparently soured since the release of general manager David Griffin, will also be a free agent in 2018.

George’s chances at a title appear to matter most when it comes to his free agency.

“I grew up a Lakers and a Clippers fan. I idolized Kobe. There will always be a tie here, a connection here. 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., to be the man in your city. But it’s definitely been overstated,” George said. “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. I’m not a stats guy. I’m playing this game to win and build a legacy of winning. I’ve yet to do that. I’m searching for 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.”