);
Free Agency 2019

Paul George opens up about decision to stay with Oklahoma City Thunder

Paul George said it was "absolutely tempting" to meet with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, but he felt as though the Oklahoma City Thunder gave him the best opportunity to win.

"I felt when it came down to it and all the factors that played into it, deep down there was a nasty taste where we finished," George told ESPN on Thursday. "I just felt I had more to offer. I had more to give. I just felt about where we were as a whole."

The Lakers were widely considered favorites to land the five-time All-Star before free agency began this summer. George seemed interested in moving to Los Angeles, too, telling ESPN prior to his decision that he pictured himself in a Lakers jersey when he was growing up in Palmdale, Calif., and that "everyone in the league would say that they would love to go back home and play for their city."

George ultimately chose to re-sign with the Thunder on a four-year, $137 million deal.

"I honestly went through the process and doing pros and cons throughout the whole [season]," George continued. "I wouldn't say the whole [season] was a recruiting process. I was just trying to find the highs and lows and the good and bad. Ultimately, I just felt this was the road for me to win."

George had a strong showing in his first year with the Thunder, with averages of 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He knocked down a career-best 244 3-pointers, helping him fit in alongside 2016-17 MVP Russell Westbrook.

The Thunder entered the playoffs with home-court advantage but lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round.

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