All-Star forward Paul George, who was traded to the Thunder shortly after the NBA Draft, has already been sold on the organization from an unlikely face who left town for greener pastures a year ago: Kevin Durant.
"KD was like, 'That place will blow you away,'" George told Sports Illustrated about the days following his trade to the Thunder. "He told me, 'They can offer what other teams can't in terms of the people and the preparation and the facility, down to the chefs and the meals.' He was pretty high on them. He thought it was a first-class organization in every way."
For George, the days following the trade have been an awkward time. He's leaving the place that drafted him in 2010 and developed him into an All-Star, after all. And dealing with it -- with the angry fans, and all that comes along with it -- is something he says he's still working through.
"There's no right way to handle it," George said. "I get the frustration. I get why people are upset. But at the same time, I want the average fan to understand that we only get a small window to play this game, and more than anything, you want to be able to play for a championship. I wanted to bring that to Indiana. I really did. I love Indiana. That will always be a special place for me, and I'm sorry for not holding on. But I wasn't sure we'd ever get a team together to compete for a championship, and that's where all this came from."
George joins a sleeping contender in OKC that was one win away from a Finals appearance in 2016 before blowing a 3-1 Western Confercene finals lead to the Warriors. He's joining a better overall roster than what the Pacers had around him. Will the Thunder be better than Golden State? Absolutely not. But they've got plenty of weapons to be a serious threat in the West and potentially win 50-plus games. And .
"For me, it's all about winning. I want to be in a good system, a good team," George said. "I want a shot to win it. I'm not a stats guy. I'm playing this game to win and build a legacy of winning. I've yet to do that. I'm searching for it. If we get a killer season in Oklahoma, we make the conference finals or upset the Warriors or do something crazy, I'd be dumb to want to leave that."