Paul George: I’d Love To “Go Back Home” And “Play For My City”

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Free-agent-to-be Paul George won’t reveal his plans for the offseason and where he might end up. In part because, as he tells it, he has no idea yet.

“Being out there with [Carmelo Anthony], with [Russell Westbrook], the talent we have … it’s crazy to think of where we can get to the more we build,” George said on Tuesday. “We’ve only been together a couple of months.

“You’ve got to think of the bigger picture when it comes to a situation like this. … This story [about free agency] is always going to be here. It is what it is. That’s not my focus. I could care less about the attention that it draws.

Still, the Oklahoma City Thunder wing sure did manage to drop a lot of hints that he’s entertained the idea of living and working full-time in the city that raised him.

Here he is on his requesting a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason from the Indiana Pacers:

All was said was a destination I would love to go to. There wasn’t gun pointed to the head ‘send me here.’ I just stated somewhere I wanted to go play. You ask 80, 70 percent of the guys in the league if they’d love to go back home and play for their city, for their home … that’s all I stated. I would have loved to go back home and play for my city. So, no regrets at all. I thought this trade that went down was a win-win for both sides, and I’m happy we both moved on.

And why he loves playing in Los Angeles:

You’ve got your stars courtside, it’s a historic building, the energy is great. And it’s a chance to really showcase yourself in one of the highest, best markets.

It just so happens that that’s home for me, so there’s family, there’s friends, there’s teachers, people I grew up around. It’s just a nice environment for me.

After his squad vanquished the Lakers on Wednesday, he was complimentary of their young core, particularly Lonzo Ball:

The way they came out and played I suspect that’s they way they’re used to with Lonzo at the point. Just playing fast and high paced, high energy. But it’s what you expect in a young team. They’re gonna have their bruises, gonna have their wounds. The best thing is they have young guys that are potentially gonna be big names in this league. They just gotta continue to keep working and fine tuning themselves. Ya know, they’ve got good young talent.

Some more on Lonzo:

All I can hear when I read any of those comments? “Unless we make a strong run to the Western Conference Finals, I’m outta here.”

And even that might not be enough to keep him around.