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Thunder's George: Not meeting angered Lakers

Apr 27, 2018; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) dribbles the ball against Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale (23) during the first half of game six of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

In the summer of 2017, Paul George told the Indiana Pacers that when he hit free agency in 2018, he’d be leaving town and heading back home to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. So the Pacers traded him to Oklahoma City.

But this summer, once he became a free agent, the 6-foot-9 forward decided to re-sign with the Thunder.

George, who grew up in Palmadale, Calif., as a fan of Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant, said the Lakers weren’t happy with him.

“LA was pissed at me,” George said Wednesday on the “Short Story Long” podcast. “I didn’t give Magic (Johnson) a (meeting), which I understand. But at that point, I knew I wanted to give (playing with the Thunder) another shot. I didn’t want to prolong it and waste people’s time.”

Shortly after free agency started on July 1, he announced his decision to remain with the Thunder at a party hosted by teammate Russell Westrbook. At the time, he posted a photo of the two of them on Instagram, captioning it “Unfinished business.”

“Coming down to free agency, I didn’t want to waste any time,” George, 28, said on the podcast. “I wanted to give it another shot. I gave them one year. We played well against the best teams. I wanted to give it a real shot.”

The Thunder made the playoffs last season and lost to Utah in the first round in six games. In the regular season, he played in 79 games, averaging 21.9 points and 5.7 rebounds.

--Field Level Media