Paul George opens up about Clippers exit: I wanted the same deal as Kawhi

Paul George opens up about Clippers exit: I wanted the same deal as Kawhi

Nine-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA selection Paul George recently signed a four-year, $212 million max contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, marking the end of his five-season tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers.

This move has significant implications for both teams and the broader NBA landscape.

LeBron James proudly watches son Bronny’s first points in the NBA

Paul George didn’t want to leave the Clippers

George’s decision to leave the Clippers was driven by stalled contract negotiations and a compelling free agency meeting with the 76ers organization.

In a recent podcast, George shared his mixed emotions about leaving Los Angeles.

“I never wanted to leave L.A.,”George admitted, expressing his frustration with the Clippers’ initial contract offer, which he described as “kinda disrespectful.”

Despite his preference to stay and help the Clippers secure their first-ever title, negotiations left him feeling undervalued.

George revealed that the first offer he received from the Clippers was $60 million over two years, which he called “crazy.”

As discussions progressed, the offers incrementally increased, but remained unsatisfactory.

“As we kept going, they would go up inches, inches, inches, to where it was like 44, 45,” George recounted, emphasizing the slow progress.

He was particularly disheartened upon learning about Kawhi Leonard’s contract terms, stating, “Just give me what Kawhi got. Y’all view us the same. We came here together. … I’ll take what Kawhi got.”

Leonard had agreed to a three-year, $152.4 million extension in January, accepting less than the maximum.

George was willing to follow suit to maintain the team’s core.

However, negotiations reached a standstill around the All-Star break, prompting George to halt talks to avoid distractions during the season.

Reflecting on the situation, George noted, “Season ends, I finish healthy, 74 games played and had one of my most efficient seasons. So now we go into negotiations, now they bring it to three years, $150 million. It sucks that we had to get to this point, that we couldn’t get this figured out a lot sooner.”

George’s willingness to accept the revised offer hinged on the inclusion of a no-trade clause, which the Clippers declined.

This led him to increase his asking price to four years at $212 million.

“If y’all going to trade me, y’all going to trade me,” he explained.

“But at least now I’m not in a situation where I could have got more had I just gone to free agency than take this deal and y’all can just ship me wherever (you) want.”

As a result, George explored other opportunities, ultimately signing with Philadelphia.

“Through negotiations, they weren’t budging, they weren’t going to budge,” George said of Clippers management.

“I wasn’t going to budge. I thought I played well enough for them to, you know, be like ‘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.”

Now with George, 76ers aim to compete with Celtics

George’s departure marks a significant shift for the Clippers, who now face the challenge of moving forward without one of their star players.

Meanwhile, the 76ers gain a versatile player capable of making an immediate impact on both ends of the floor.

Last season, George averaged 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while shooting 47.1% from the field and 41.3% from three-point range.

The 76ers now boast a formidable trio of stars with George joining Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

This lineup sets the stage for a competitive showdown with the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference as George pursues his first NBA title.

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