Oklahoma City Thunder wing Paul George was always believed to be the potential star free agent the Los Angeles Lakers had the best chance at landing. Though as the season has gone on, there have been more reasons to believe he could stick with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City.
Both times the Thunder came to Staples Center, George was showered with cheers from the Lakers fans. The same happened during All-Star Weekend. During All-Star Media Day, which was open to the public, a group of Lakers fans could be heard chanting ‘We Want Paul!’ during George’s interview session.
While George seemed fine with the chants, the same can’t be said for his Thunder teammate.
Westbrook had a message to the Lakers fans chanting, stopping mid-interview to deliver his message, via the L.A. Times:
“Paul ain’t going nowhere!” Westbrook said. “It’s over for that!”
It has been very difficult to get a read on George’s future intentions. He has long been linked to the Lakers and even told the Indiana Pacers that he preferred to be traded there. However, George has always been clear that winning is important, and the Thunder look to be one of the few teams with a chance to knock off the Golden State Warriors.
There is some belief that the Thunder won’t be able to keep George for financial reasons but that won’t be known until the summer. And until George announces that he won’t be signing with the Lakers, fans will continue to serenade him with chants.
Westbrook feeling the need to say something to the fans is simply him being the ultimate competitor and teammate that he has always been. He needs George to be at his best and focused on the current season if the Thunder will make a run.
Ahead of the Thunder playing the Lakers at Staples Center earlier this season, Westbrook said Oklahoma City winning the NBA championship would be a sales pitch that couldn’t be topped.
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