Paul George on Lakers: “I would have loved to go back home and played for my city.”

The Lakers’ potential pursuit of guard/forward Paul George has been a long and tenuous one. Starting last season in Indiana and tracing into this season with the Thunder, George has been arguably the top target for the Lakers for the better part of a year.

The Lakers have been linked with George via trade with the Pacers during the trade deadline, prior to the draft and since as a free agent.

For those who can’t see/watch the video or for those, like myself, who just want to read what he just said over and over, he’s the transcription of the video:

Reporter: “When you decided you weren’t going to stay in Indiana, you wanted them to be able to trade you and get something out of it. Do you have any regrets that the Laker part of that came out and was made public?”

Paul George: “No. No regrets at all. All was said was a destination I would love to go. There wasn’t a ‘Hey, gunpoint to the head, send me here.’ I just stated somewhere I wanted to go play. You ask 80, 70 percent of guys in the league if they would love to go back home and play for their city, play for their home. That’s all I stated that I would have loved to go back home and played for my city. No regrets. No regrets at all. I thought this trade that went down was a win-win for both sides and I’m happy for both of them.”

Now, excuse me for one moment as I go jump up and down like a schoolboy who found out the girl he had a crush on really likes him, too.

Even if it’s been a long, open secret of George’s affection for Los Angeles and the Lakers, this is the strongest statement to come directly from George on the matter yet. Calling Los Angeles his “home” and his “city” are two very strong words to use from a man who knows whatever he says is going to be micro-analyzed.

With the way the season is playing out in Oklahoma City (i.e. poorly) and how the young Lakers have looked for large chunks of this season (i.e. promising), there was reason enough to get excited about the possibility of the Lakers actually landing George.

This? Well, it’s like adding diesel fuel to a small campfire. Seven more months until free agency!

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