Paul George Jokes with Kevin Hart That Thunder Trade Initially 'F--ked Me Up'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 25, 2020

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. The Pelicans won 131-122. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

Many people were surprised when the Oklahoma City Thunder swung a deal to acquire Paul George in July 2017—none more than the six-time All-Star himself. 

Appearing on Kevin Hart's Cold as Balls: Cold Calls YouTube show, George said the Thunder trade "f--ked me up" because of the low-key nature of Oklahoma City (starts at 4:12 mark):

It was well known at the time that George's relationship with the Indiana Pacers had reached a point where it seemed impossible for him to remain with the organization. 

George's agent, Aaron Mintz, called Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard in June 2017 to inform him of his client's wish to play for a new team.

Earlier this week, George went on the Knuckleheads podcast with Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson (h/t RealGM.com) to say he requested the trade because the Pacers told him they wouldn't acquire an unnamed player whom George said told him he wanted to play in Indiana:

"I had at the time, the best power forward saying he wanted to come to Indy and team up with me. They're like, 'we're a mid-major, we're a small market, like, we can't do it, we're a small market, we can't afford that.' I'm like the best power forward wants to come play here, like, y'all can't make that work? They didn't want to do it."

The Thunder stunned everyone by trading Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Pacers for George. They had Russell Westbrook coming off an MVP season but were trying to find a second superstar after losing Kevin Durant one year earlier in free agency. 

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George had a successful two-season run in Oklahoma City. He averaged 25.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 156 games and finished third in 2018-19 MVP voting. 

As the Thunder looked toward building for the future last offseason, George was sent to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with Kawhi Leonard. 

Oklahoma City has come out of the deal looking strong. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari are the team's top two scorers this season. The Thunder also have five future first-round draft picks and two pick swaps thanks to the deal. 

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