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After five seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George left the franchise this summer and signed a four-year, $212 million deal wih the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency. On Monday, in the latest episode of his podcast, "Podcast P," George explained his decision and detailed the contract negotiation process with the Clippers. 

George, who is a Los Angeles native, said that while he had hoped to remain with the Clippers, their initial "disrespectful" offer of two years and $60 million last year got things off to a bad start. Though the Clippers eventually came to the table with improved proposals, they couldn't agree to terms, and he moved on. 

Here are George's full comments:

"Just to put it out there, I never wanted to leave L.A. L.A. is home, this is where I wanted to finish at, and I wanted to work as hard as possible to win one in L.A. That was the goal, to be here and be committed to L.A. As it played out though, the first initial deal was, I thought, kind of disrespectful, right. And again, in all of this, no hard feelings. 

"So the first initial deal was like two years, 60 [million]. So I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa. So I'm like, no, I'm not signing that. This was maybe October-ish. Negotiations first started, it was two, 60 [million]. As we kept going, it was like they would go up inches, inches, inches to where it was like 44-45 [million per year] but this was a couple months in between before we got it to 40 [million] something. So I'm still like, nah, I'm not doing that. 

"Then I hear wind of what they're going to give Kawhi so I'm like, just give me what Kawhi got. Y'all view us the same. We came here together, we want to finish this shit together. I'll take what Kawhi got. I was cool with that and we were still taking less. Kawhi took less, so if Kawhi takes less, I'm not going to say I want more than Kawhi. It's not about me being paid more than him. I'm going to take what he got. Y'all give him that, give me that. They didn't want to do that. 

"So this was before the All-Star break. I was like, let's not even have no more conversations. Let's just play this year out, because it was starting to get into my mood. I didn't want to have that energy carry over into the team. Season ends, I finish healthy, 74 games played and had one of my most efficient seasons. 

"So now we going into negotiations and they bring it to three years, 150 [million]. So a part of me was still like, all right cool. It sucks that it had to get to this point, that we couldn't get this figured out a lot sooner but now we're at the end of the year and it's three years, 150 [million] and I'm like all right, we're in the ballpark. Now we can have a conversation. I presented the three [years], 150, no trade [clause]. Cause in the meeting, they're like 'we want you here long-term, when you're retired we want you to be a Clipper for a lifetime, all of this stuff. So I'm like, cool, give me the three years, 150 [million], no-trade then. Like I'm taking less, but at least I know I'm here. They didn't want to do no trade. They didn't want to do that.

"So then I'm like, all right, well then it only makes sense for me to do four years, 212 [million]. At least pay me my money. If y'all going to trade me, y'all going to trade me, but at least now I'm not in a situation where I could have got more, had I just gone to free agency, then take this deal where y'all could ship me wherever and now I'm on this deal I didn't want. They didn't want to do that, so now I was like I'm open to entertaining what's out there. 

"Through the negotiations, they weren't budging, I wasn't gonna budge. I thought I played well enough for them to be like, 'you know what? He's a part of our future.' I thought I did that. I thought I earned that. Granted, we didn't win while I was there, but luck has a lot to do with that. We couldn't remain healthy as a unit, but I thought I did enough to earn that. I love Steve [Ballmer], I love Lawrence [Frank], but at that point it didn't even feel right to come back with that type of energy and be comfortable playing back in L.A."

Kawhi Leonard signed a three-year, $153 million extension with the Clippers in January. Both Zach Lowe of ESPN and Law Murray of The Athletic reported that the Clippers eventually got to a point where they were willing to give George a deal similar to Leonard's, though ESPN's Ramona Shelburne suggested it would have been slightly less. 

Whatever the Clippers' exact final offer was, it's clear from George's comments that the two sides were never fully on the same page. 

At least part of that may have been the fear of the daunting second apron, which puts major restrictions on team building. If the Clippers had brought George back at $50 million per year, they would have exceeded that threshold next season, and likely would have done so again in the 2025-26 season. The problem for the Clippers is now their team is much worse and they don't have much flexibility anyway. 

The Sixers took advantage of the disconnect between George and the Clippers to scoop up the nine-time All-Star and form a new big three with him alongside Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. If that trio can stay healthy, they will be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference next year, and a possible threat to dethrone the Boston Celtics