Paul George: Thunder Feel 'Like a Championship Team' After Carmelo Anthony Trade

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2017

FILE - In this July 12, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George answers a question at his first news conference since Oklahoma City's blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers, in Oklahoma City. George travels back to Indiana on Dec. 13, 2017, for the first time since the Pacers surprisingly dealt him to Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Paul George said his Oklahoma City Thunder feel "like a championship team" after they agreed to acquired Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks.

"This feels like a championship team," George told Sam Amick of USA Today. "I'm in a good place. I know Russ [Westbrook] is in a good place. Melo is motivated more than ever. ... You put us three together, who all have something to prove still, [and] we're going to be a special team. We have a young group, a lot of talent here, an unbelievable coach [in Billy Donovan], [and] as you see, a front office that's willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team. It just has all the makeups to be a great organization and a chance to put championships together."

The Thunder agreed to send Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick to the Knicks for Anthony on Saturday, according to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski.

George joined the Thunder in July after requesting a trade from the Indiana Pacers. He has made four of the last five Eastern Conference All-Star teams, including the last two.

"I'm real excited," he said. "It just goes to show how a small market can stay aggressive in the trade place and can really do whatever it needs to do for the players' sake to give them the best chance to win, man. It's pretty impressive that Oklahoma has now three superstars and gave this state a legitimate chance to win a championship.

"The most beautiful thing about it is this organization [lets] all their players know what's going on. There's nothing under the table. There's nothing hidden since I've been here so far. So I was aware of what was going on. I was extremely happy. I was pushing for this opportunity to play with [Anthony]. I'm extremely happy. ... The first year I get here, we already have three superstars on the team. It just goes to show what's possible with different organizations."

Anthony, 33, waived his no-trade clause to facilitate the reported deal. The 10-time All-Star had been with the Knicks since 2011 but had pushed for a move after his relationship with the organization soured. While New York fired Phil Jackson as team president—the overwhelming cause of Anthony's rift with the franchise—the situation seemed beyond repair.

Westbrook, George and Anthony will form one of the league's preeminent Big Threes, though it's one that could be short-lived. Each player can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

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