Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins recently sat down with Paul George, and although they discussed many topics that would be of interest to Thunder fans, one tidbit in particular stood out. In the wake of being traded to Oklahoma City, George apparently reached out to someone quite familiar with the organization — Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors.
“KD was like, ‘That place will blow you away,’” George says. “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.”
That KD is such a bad g….wait. OK, I’m not upset with a word of that.
If you’re like me, Durant was the last guy you wanted giving advice to PG13, so it’s great to see such a positive review from Oklahoma’s former favorite son. The rift between the two sides is well-documented, and KD’s recent run to his first NBA title certainly made things worse — but if he’s interested in telling George how great the Thunder organization can be, that’s fine by fans here in the Sooner State. After all, no one is turning down help on the “Keep PG in OKC” recruitment trail.
In terms of Durant’s words, he’s not incorrect in his assessment that the Thunder can offer a healthy, winning culture. George leaves a Pacers organization that struggled to build a contender around him, but GM Sam Presti is clearly intent on constructing a winner as quickly as possible. George notices the possibilities, telling Jenkins, “I’m thrilled. All I was asking for was a little help in Indy. Now I’m getting a lot of help in Oklahoma.”
All of this is welcomed news as the city and its franchise prepares for a season-long pitch on the benefits of George remaining in Thunder blue. The Lakers will remain at top of mind in terms of threats to steal him away, but PG13 claims there is much more to it than that.
“I want a shot to win it. 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.”
Here we go.