Paul George has recently explained in an interview that his desire to play for his home team Los Angeles Lakers has been overstated by the media. George was traded this off-season by the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder after he had informed the Pacers' front office about his intention to leave the franchise in next year's free agency. A lot has been said since then about George's motivation to win or play for the Lakers.

George's dream to be a Laker

Paul George, an LA native, confirmed his dream of playing for his home team. "I grew up a Lakers and a Clippers fan. I idolized Kobe [Bryant]. There will always be a tie here, a connection here. People saying I want to come here, who doesn't want to play for their hometown? That's a dream come true, if you're a kid growing up on the outskirts of L.A., to be the man in your city."

George's sentiment has been an open secret for some time now.

However, Sam Amick of USA Today went a step further and reported in February that George is "hell-bent" on joining the Lakers next summer. Additionally, in April Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News reported that the star had informed the Pacers of his wish of becoming a Laker after telling them about his intention of leaving the franchise in free agency next year.

But George was determined to set the record straight in the interview.

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About media's recent tendency to take for granted a union with the Lakers, George had to say the following: "It's been overstated. For me, it's all about winning. I want to be in a good system, a good team. 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."

Choosing between Lakers and winning

A lot has been said about George's willingness to win.

Had he joined the Lakers this year, George would have certainly not contended for an NBA title. And, next year, Lakers fans can only hope they can add a couple of superstars and that players like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram fulfill their potential if they want to become relevant again in the Western Conference. Even then, the Lakers would have trouble surpassing teams like the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and especially the Golden State Warriors who are loaded with at least two stars. But George may be holding onto the hope that his addition to the Lakers will make them a serious winning team once again.

Any chance George remains a Thunder?

George has joined the 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook in the Oklahoma City Thunder. The rest of the team leaves a lot to be desired, but George will attempt to pick up where Kevin Durant left off and lead the team to great heights along with Westbrook. Durant also had some words for George apparently. "KD was like, ‘That place (Oklahoma City) will blow you away," said George.

It remains to be seen how George and Westbrook will fare together. Westbrook can be a challenge to play with. He might witness another star teammate leave him. Also, there seem to be deeper, more talented, and better-structured teams in the west. On the other hand, the two could reach the conference finals and create serious problems for the Warriors. What would George do then in next year's free agency?

George had the following to say: "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."

George says what he needs to say

George can't expose himself on the eve of playing for the Thunder. He has no option but to publicly voice his commitment to the team that traded for him this year. The Lakers will knock on his door next summer; he knows that, and he will have to wait for then. Meanwhile, it will not be surprising to hear such comments from George. Why would he say anything different that would only hurt this image in Oklahoma City?

However, George might not have used his words that carefully. He starts with "if we get a killer season" and adds "do something crazy." His chances of re-signing with the Thunder are as slim as his chances of fighting for an NBA title next year, which he already knows would be a "crazy" scenario rather than a realistic one.

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