Thunder's Paul George thinks he'll be booed in return to Indiana 'for whatever reason'

When NBA players return to cities where they used to play, it generally goes one of two ways: Extreme adulation and appreciation or relentless vitriol and disdain.

Thunder forward Paul George is expecting the latter when he returns to Indianapolis for the first time to play his former Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

"Boos. I honestly wouldn't think it would be any other way," George said, when asked what to expect in his return. "The Pacers fans outweigh the Paul George fans. That's what I'm looking forward to.

"For whatever reason, I'll be booed, but I'm gonna embrace that. I'm gonna thrive on that. That's gonna give me the energy to play better."

George is probably right about the boos, but his qualifier of "for whatever reason" probably drew a gigantic, "Come on, man!" from everyone even remotely familiar with his Pacers situation over the past several months.

The All-Star forward basically forced his way out of Indiana by letting the front office know that he had no intention of re-signing with the team as a free agent in 2018. So, yeah. You think maybe that's the reason for the boos, Paul?

It may not last, but for now the Pacers are the ones laughing. At 16-11 they have a much better record than the 12-14 Thunder, and the players whom they received in the George deal -- Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis -- have performed brilliantly. Oladipo was recently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season, and is on pace to be an All-Star with averages of 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. Sabonis has averaged 12.1 points and 8.5 rebounds in a bench role.

The atmosphere will be frenzied at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday. Here's hoping that one day George will figure out the reason why.

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