The Paul George trade request when he was with the Indiana Pacers in 2017 is a well-documented saga.
The story goes that George requested to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, but they refused to part ways with multiple assets of value, believing they’d sign him outright in 2018 NBA free agency. The Pacers then traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
The Lakers still believed that George would sign, especially since it was becoming more and more likely that LeBron James would be coming to Los Angeles. However, when free agency rolled around, George shocked everyone by immediately signing a three-year extension with the Thunder. He then followed that up by putting out a documentary explaining his decision.
Now, as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, George reflected back on his initial trade request that not only included the Lakers, but Kawhi Leonard’s San Antonio Spurs as well, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
In June 2017, George was dreaming of different scenery. When the All-Star forward informed the Indiana Pacers that he wanted to be traded, reports came out that he wanted to return home and be moved to the Los Angeles Lakers. But George had another team on top of his wish list.
“I wanted to be traded to San Antonio,” George says. “We wanted to go to San Antonio first, and we didn’t make that happen.”
According to this story, it would seem that George had been looking to team up with Leonard for a couple seasons before it finally happened with the Clippers.
That said, it’s still very interesting how the saga went down for the Lakers as for a full season, it appeared to be a certainty that George would be a Laker. Now that George is with the Clippers, he’s saying the Lakers were never even his first option.
It’s very possible that George wanted to go to the Spurs first and that it never got reported because trade talks fell through so quickly but with how public knowledge it was that George wanted to be a Laker, it seems pretty hard to go back on that now.
In the end, it worked out extremely well for everyone involved. George got what he supposedly wanted by teaming up with Leonard on the Clippers. The Lakers got Anthony Davis to pair with James and the two teams now make up the NBA’s elite class of rosters.