Paul George Says Russell Westbrook Relationship Featured 'Highs and Lows'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2018

Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George, right, and Russell Westbrook during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

As he prepares to hit free agency for the first time in his career, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George admitted to some "highs and lows" in his relationship with Russell Westbrook

"There were some highs and lows, but I thought it was good. It was a learning experience for me. I thought we both grew together trying to get that chemistry," George told reporters at his season-ending interview.

George, who turns 28 on May 2, wrapped up his first season in Oklahoma City with his worst performance since being traded from the Indiana Pacers. He finished with five points and eight assists on 2-of-16 shooting and turned the ball over six times in Friday's 96-91 loss to the Utah Jazz.

Westbrook scored 46 of the Thunder's 91 points but shot the ball 43 times. Over the final two games of the series, Westbrook had 91 points on 82 shots. George said the shot distribution did not bother him. 

"I never cared. I've never been a guy that's been salty about the shots I'm getting. I just try to play the right way. If anything, he should be the one pissed about those shots I took," George told reporters, referring to instances like Game 6 when his shots weren't falling.

There have been longstanding rumors about George's desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. He grew up in Palmdale, California, and admitted Saturday that playing for his home franchise is appealing.

The Lakers are expected to be major players in free agency. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the team plans to target George and LeBron James.

Westbrook said he's confident George will want to stay in free agency. He said the situation did not compare to when Kevin Durant left for the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

"Obviously, Kevin was here for many years and then decided to leave, and Paul's only been here for some months," Westbrook told reporters. "That's a decision that Paul will eventually make. But like I said before, our friendship and our bond we've created together is more important to me, and that's what I truly care about. Me knowing Paul, like I said before, he definitely wants to be here. Through free agency or for any player, it's always a decision up to them what's best for their family."