Clippers' Paul George tried to team up with Kawhi Leonard in 2017: 'I wanted to be traded to San Antonio'

When the Los Angeles Clippers pulled off the best moves of the offseason by winning the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes followed by trading for Paul George, the pairing of the two superstars seemed like a match made in heaven. It was almost as if everyone collectively said, 'duh, of course that makes sense,' when the trade happened. Not only are they similar in the fact that they're both from Southern California and went to small California universities before going to the NBA, but their style of play matches so well with each other.

After Leonard told the Clippers that he would only sign there if they traded for George, it appeared that Leonard was the mastermind in getting the two California natives on the same team. But, in 2017, George already had the idea of pairing up with Leonard -- it was just in San Antonio instead. When George told the Indiana Pacers that he wanted to be traded, the Los Angeles Lakers were considered his prime target, but apparently, George also had his sights set on the San Antonio Spurs, as reported by ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk.

"I wanted to be traded to San Antonio," George said. "We wanted to go to San Antonio first, and we didn't make that happen."

While George wanted to play with Leonard in San Antonio, the Spurs lacked the necessary assets required to present a trade package appealing enough to the Pacers. The Spurs could've offered any combination of Dejounte Murry, Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans, Bryn Forbes and Danny Green. However, aside from Green, most of those players were unproven and didn't exactly move the needle when trading a player of George's caliber. 

Ultimately, it was the Oklahoma City Thunder who came in and got George, with a deal of Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo, both of whom figure to be part of Indiana's future.

"Since that moment, we were trying to pair up with one another," George said. "We were trying to make it work. I had obligations that I wanted to come back to Oklahoma and give it another shot, and then I felt that I needed to move on. I needed to go in another direction and I needed to at that point do what I wanted to do my whole career."

While it took a couple years for Leonard and George to team up together, the duo are finally in a position where they want to be, playing in their home state, and on the same team. Leonard and George haven't played a game together yet, but separately, they've each gotten off to remarkable starts for the Clippers. 

George, who made his Clippers debut on Nov. 14 after rehabbing from two shoulder surgeries in the offseason, is averaging 29.3 points in just three games. Leonard, who has missed the last three games due to a knee contusion, is averaging 26.8 points. When the two finally make their debut together this season, it'll be something that's been years in the making.

Jasmyn Wimbish has been closely following the NBA since Dirk Nowitzki hit his sweet signature jumper to send the Miami Heat packing in 2011. She's a graduate of the University of Kansas and Northern Arizona... Full Bio

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