Prior to adding LeBron James and Anthony Davis to win the NBA Championship, the most prominent NBA rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers involved Paul George.
The Palmdale, California native was tied very strongly to the Lakers during his tenure with the Indiana Pacers. When he demanded a trade from Indy, it was highly expected that the Lakers would make a push as George seemingly wanted to don the purple and gold.
George was ultimately traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. After one season with the team, George decided to re-sign to play with Russell Westbrook instead of joining the Lakers. Shortly thereafter he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers to come home to LA.
George has embraced being a Clipper while Lakers fans have always known that at the end of the day, he wanted to be a Laker first. The All-NBA forward recently confirmed that to be true on the latest episode of ‘Podcast P with Paul George‘.
Paul George confirms previous NBA Rumors about his desire to join the Lakers:
"“Obviously I wanted to come back home. Lakers was — you know — first. My idol (Kobe Bryant) went there.”"
George quickly followed it up by saying that he is with the right team now but there still has to be part of him that sits up at night and wonders what could have been.
It certainly would have been a completely different reality for the Lakers. Before LeBron James even came to town the team could have been able to bring in a star. Then, with LeBron joining LA, the Lakers would not have needed to make the Anthony Davis trade having received George (assumingly) for less.
Would this have resulted in a title? Maybe not. George has not had the best playoff track record both production-wise and health-wise. Meanwhile, Davis went on a historic run in the 2020 NBA Playoffs and was the main reason why the purple and gold were able to win it all.
There is another wrinkle in this what-if scenario that should be considered. Kawhi Leonard seemed very close to joining the Clippers during the 2019 offseason but instead went to the Clippers and convinced the team to trade for George.
If George was on the Lakers then there would not have been any trade to make. Would Leonard have then been okay playing with LeBron James? If so, even with Kawhi’s injuries, it might be safe to assume that the Lakers would have won at least, if not multiple, championships.
But at the end of the day the Lakers were still able to win championship gold while the Clippers sacrificed their future for no guarantees. It probably worked out for the best.