We recently covered D’Angelo Russell, Devin Buker, and Karl-Anthony Towns, hinting that they would like to team up in the future. It may seem premature, as all three signed max rookie extensions, but players make plans like these a long time before they come to reality. As media day showed us when Kawhi said he pushed the Spurs to get George to San Antonio.
The two players heard about each other from high-school days and admired each other’s game ever since. When Kawhi said he asked the Spurs to get George, it explained some of the frustrations he had with the organization. The Spurs rarely trade for players, and never make huge deals for superstars. Now we learned that it might have been more coordinated that in seemed. (via ESPN):
“I wanted to be traded to San Antonio. We wanted to go to San Antonio first, and we didn’t make that happen.”
So not only Kawhi went to the Spurs and told them he wants George, but George also asked for a trade specifically to San Antonio. After the summer we had, it’s hard to believe two players got on the same page like that, and a trade didn’t happen. For as much heat Anthony Davis got for the way his trade to the Lakers went down, maybe George would’ve been in San Antonio with Kawhi if both had made their requests more public.
Speaking of the Lakers, George also addressed their reluctance to trade for him while in Indiana. When it became apparent the Spurs don’t have enough (or were not willing to offer more), PG expressed a desire to go to LA. The Lakers and Pacers started to talk, but Magic Johnson didn’t want to give the second pick that became Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram for Paul George, thinking the Lakers can wait it out and sign him as a free agent. (via ESPN):
“As far as the Lakers, I wanted to go to L.A. They didn’t make that happen. They didn’t put nothing together. So that’s in the back of my mind [when I became a free agent]. That was in the back of my mind.”
The two did finally team up in LA, but the Spurs and Lakers will have a lot to wonder about when Kawhi and Paul are dominating in the playoffs.