Paul George says he is happy, but many Indiana Pacers fans remain unhappy with him. There was no way to reconcile those conflicting emotions, as George prepared to play his first game against the Pacers on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. George was smiling and had the aura of a man at peace after Tuesday’s practice at the Oklahoma City Thunder’s practice facility. But George admitted that the timing of his departure from the Pacers was awkward and that if he could do it again, he would have handled some things differently. So what message did George have for Pacers’ fans, who are still upset that he asked to be traded through his agent, just six days before the draft, following a seven-year run as one of the best players in Pacers history? “First and foremost, I want to give thanks to Indiana as a state, for embracing me and my family for seven years of being there,” said George during a one-on-one interview. “I learned so much being there. They taught me so much. “Obviously, I’m human. Things could have been done a lot better. The process, that whole ordeal could have been done a lot better. I’ll share some of that responsibility. But at the end of the day, I did what was best for myself, what was best for my family. I had to move on. It was the right decision for myself. I’m happy. I’m happy with what the results were.” The result was the trade that sent George to the Thunder, in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo and center Domantas Sabonis. While the Pacers have high hopes for both Oladipo and Sabonis, the timing of George’s trade request robbed the Pacers of some of their leverage. It forced the franchise to rebuild around a young nucleus, a process destined to take time. Meanwhile, the Thunder has the talent to win now, and perhaps win big. They got an All-Star in his prime in George, and they have since added one of the NBA’s most lethal scorers in forward Carmelo Anthony, to join point guard Russell Westbrook, the league’s reigning most valuable player.
Paul George opens up about leaving Pacers: 'Things could have been done a lot better'
Indianapolis Star | Oct 25