Paul George praises Lonzo Ball, tries to explain Lakers' 'comical' tampering fine

Despite being a member of a surging Oklahoma City Thunder team that has won seven of its last 10 games, Paul George seems pretty excited about the Los Angeles Lakers.

First he said that he had "no regrets at all" about informing his former Indiana Pacers of his plans to play in Los Angeles. Then he gushed about Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, who would presumably be responsible for getting George the ball if he signs with the Lakers this coming offseason.

"As far as being a basketball player, at his age, he's one of the best basketball players that has played this game," George said, via NBCLA's Shahan Ahmed. "He has a knack to play the game the right way."

George also tried to explain the $500,000 tampering fine the Lakers received over the summer, which he called "kind of comical." Via Bill Oram of The OC Register:

"I mean, it is what it is. They thought it was tampering. There was no tampering at all," George said. "It was kind of crazy, our relationship, me and B-Shaw (Lakers associate head coach Brian Shaw) was far stronger than me coming to the Lakers was. B-Shaw's been a mentor for me so it was kind of comical, but we moved on.

"The Pacers thought that there was more in-depth of them trying to recruit me, which it wasn't. The only thing me and B-Shaw ever spoke about was fishing, and challenging each other on fishing trips. B-Shaw has way, way, way better class than to try to recruit me."

The only problem with George's assessment is that the NBA stated that the fine was given for contact between Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and George's agent -- the league didn't mention any conversations between George and Shaw. In fact, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, multiple sources have indicated that the NBA investigated the talks between George and Shaw and found no evidence of tampering.

So yeah, it appears George is telling the truth, but he's also a little confused.

Either way, the rumors that George will eventually end up in Los Angeles continue to swell. George grew up in the L.A. area and has made no secret of the fact that he wants to return. Perhaps if the Thunder continue their winning ways and make a run in the playoffs it may change his mind, but for now it seems like the Lakers are the leaders in the clubhouse to land George this summer.

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