Lakers Rumors: Paul George ‘Turned Off’ To Sign With L.A. Because Of Kobe?

Kobe Bryant Paul George

Before the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Utah Jazz for the first time last week at the Honda Center, ESPN had released their ranking for Kobe Bryant.

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As expected, Kobe wasn’t fond of where he landed on the ESPN’s rankings claiming that the network is filled with “a bunch of idiots” and that he doesn’t really pay attention to those rankings anymore.

On Monday, ESPN published an article highly critical of Kobe and how his impacted the Lakers franchise over the course of his career. Some believe the article could be in response to Kobe’s recent comments about the network’s ranking, but that’s up for debate.

One thing ESPN’s Henry Abbott touched on in the article was Paul George and how he might’ve re-signed with the Indiana Pacers because he didn’t want to be managed by Kobe in Los Angeles:

While the Lakers were going after Anthony in vain, they quietly pursued Chris Bosh as well, but he preferred the carcass of the Heat. Paul George, Angelino through and through, had once been the team’s safest choice. But sources say one reason the two-way star had re-signed with the Pacers in the fall of 2013 instead was that he was turned off by the thought that Bryant would police his efforts.

Many believe Kobe’s demanding nature has rubbed teammates the wrong way in the past. That has led to speculation that other stars in the league haven’t wanted to join him in Los Angeles through free agency.

Obviously, that’s all speculation, but his prior relationships with former teammates has convinced many that Kobe’s truly difficult to play with. Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal failed to see eye-to-eye despite winning three straight titles together. Dwight Howard never got along with the five-time champion during his lone season in Los Angeles, leading the star center to sign with the Houston Rockets as a free agent.

As for George, it’s highly doubtful the 24-year-old would’ve left Indiana even with the prospect of signing with the Lakers. Even so, George has openly said that he’s been an avid fan of Kobe ever since he was a kid in Palmdale, California.

Even George took to Twitter to downplay the rumor:

The rising star not wanting to go to Los Angeles to play alongside his childhood hero because he didn’t want to be “policed” by Bryant is an interesting statement. Sounds extremely thin considering the fact that George wasn’t going anywhere regardless.

Kobe Bryant On Lakers Identity Moving Forward, ‘Smashmouth Basketball’


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