George didn’t end up getting dealt to the Lakers, as he was instead sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Still, he wanted a chance to suit up in the purple and gold.
“We were trying to protect going somewhere that I really didn’t want to go,” George said of his trade request from the Pacers. “Obviously, I wanted to come back home. Lakers was – you know – first – my idol went there.”
George later said that he is “with the right team,” talking about his current squad, the Clippers.
The Pacers traded George back in 2017 in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. It was a major gamble for the Thunder at the time, as George could have left in the offseason for a new team. However, he ended up staying with Russell Westbrook before eventually requesting a trade from OKC prior to the 2019-20 season.
The Thunder blew up the team that offseason, shipping George to the Clippers to team up with Kawhi Leonard while Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets.
Oklahoma City still managed to make the playoffs in the 2019-20 season with Chris Paul (acquired in the Westbrook deal) leading the way.
For Lakers fans, it’s tough to know that George wanted to play for the franchise, but the consolation prize wasn’t so bad. The Lakers ended up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and they went on to win the NBA Finals in the 2019-20 season.
Even though they could have had George earlier, the Lakers may have never gotten James to come to Los Angeles had they made the trade for George back in 2017.
Now, George is one of the Lakers’ biggest rivals, and there’s a chance that his Clippers could find themselves matched up with the Lakers at some point in the playoffs this season.
The Clippers are currently the No. 5 seed in the West, but George is out of the lineup with a knee injury. The team is hoping he will be able to return for a playoff run.
It’s always interesting to look back on some of the possible trade scenarios for players, especially from their perspectives, but the Lakers and their fans have to be happy with how things have turned out since George’s trade request from Indiana.