The Los Angeles Lakers and Paul George once felt like a pairing destined to happen, as the All-Star had expressed a desire to play for his hometown team, which was in a position to offer him a max contract earlier this offseason.
That's why it shocked many when George spurned the Lakers in free agency - without even meeting with the team - to remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder on a four-year deal following a 48-win campaign.
"L.A. was pissed at me. I didn't give Magic (Johnson) a (meeting), which I understand," George said during a recent appearance on the "Short Story Long" podcast with Chris Pfaff. But at that point, I knew I wanted to give it another shot. I didn't want to prolong it and waste people's time."
When free agency commenced at midnight on July 1, George was at a "Summer Hype House Party" hosted by Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook and declared that he was staying put in Oklahoma City.
"My year there, I just felt comfortable," George told Pfaff about his first season in OKC following a trade from the Indiana Pacers. "I felt like I've been around those guys forever. That was just the feel. It didn't feel like this was a new relationship. It felt like these are guys that I want to compete with.
"Coming down to free agency, I didn't want to waste any time. I wanted to give it another shot. I gave them one year. We played well against the best teams. I wanted to give it a real shot."
However, George won't close the book on donning purple and gold someday, as everything will be on the table when his contract expires after the 2021-22 campaign.
"I wanted to. I honestly wanted to. I wanted to come back home," he added. "I'm 28. I've still got another contract."