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Paul George focused on chasing title, won't discuss 2018 plans

Thunder forward Paul George says a former face of the franchise -- Kevin Durant -- sold him on his new team following his trade to Oklahoma City last week.

"KD was like, 'That place will blow you away,'" George told Sports Illustrated for a story published Tuesday. "He told me, 'They can offer what other teams can't in terms of the people and the preparation and the facility, down to the chefs and the meals.' He was pretty high on them. He thought it was a first-class organization in every way."

Paul George.
The Indiana Pacers traded George to the Thunder on July 6, with the agreement initially reported June 30. The Pacers, who received Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in the swap, were looking to move George after the four-time All-Star told them he would opt out of his contract after next season.

George, 27, acknowledged the awkwardness of his departure from Indiana.

"There's no right way to handle it," George told SI. "I get the frustration. I get why people are upset. But at the same time, I want the average fan to understand that we only get a small window to play this game, and more than anything, you want to be able to play for a championship. I wanted to bring that to Indiana. I really did. I love Indiana. That will always be a special place for me, and I'm sorry for not holding on. But I wasn't sure we'd ever get a team together to compete for a championship, and that's where all this came from."

Durant, coincidentally, won his first NBA title last month after leaving the Thunder last offseason and signing with the Golden State Warriors.

George said he felt the Pacers' current window to win a championship had closed and informed them of his plans to leave so they could recoup some assets.

The Vertical reported last month that George planned to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent in 2018. George, a native of Los Angeles County, wouldn't commit to any future plans or teams, telling Sports Illustrated that "it's all about winning."

"I want to be in a good system, a good team. I want a shot to win it," he said. "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."

George will be introduced by the Thunder on Wednesday at a 7 p.m. ET news conference in Oklahoma City. He was scheduled to fly into Oklahoma City on Tuesday morning.

Source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19960768/paul-george-gets-high-praise-oklahoma-city-thunder-former-star-kevin-durant

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