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Paul George: ‘I wanted to be traded to San Antonio,’ team up with Kawhi Leonard

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George, left, and forward Kawhi Leonard sit on the bench during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (AP Photo)

As this current Spurs unit continues to descend into the depths of the Western Conference, ESPN.com posted a story Wednesday that made fans lament what could have been.

LA Clippers all-star forward Paul George told ESPN staff writer Ohm Youngmisuk that in the summer of 2017, he wanted to be traded to San Antonio to play with Kawhi Leonard.

“I wanted to be traded to San Antonio,” George said in the piece. "We wanted to go to San Antonio first, and we didn’t make that happen.”

The article is a deep-dive into the relationship that Leonard and George have cultivated over the past few years and how they finally have the opportunity to play together in Los Angeles.

George was ultimately traded to Oklahoma City that summer and well, we all the know how things ended with Leonard in San Antonio.

While the past can’t be changed, it is interesting to look back at that fateful summer, which has proven to be a pivotal moment for the Spurs franchise.

San Antonio had just been swept by the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals after Leonard, who elevated to an MVP type candidate that season, became injured.

It would make sense for the Spurs to stand pat, but there were several rumors leading up to the 2017 draft that San Antonio was a candidate to trade for George.

George was quoted in the article saying, “we didn’t make it happen,” and the piece also notes that the Pacers and Spurs discussed a possible deal.

“A league source confirmed that the Pacers and Spurs talked, but San Antonio lacked the assets to pair George with Leonard,” ESPN reported.

The question now is: What went into those discussions? What was proposed?

We may never know, but this timeline would coincide with LaMarcus Aldridge requesting a trade out of San Antonio.

Spurs open to trading LaMarcus Aldridge for top pick in NBA draft, reports say

Popovich: Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge asked to be traded last summer

Aldridge and the Spurs stuck together, and to his credit, Aldridge had one of the best seasons of his career carrying San Antonio to the playoffs.

Leonard played in only nine games the next season, distanced himself from the team and franchise, then asked for a trade in the summer of 2018.

Leonard has never clearly stated why he wanted to leave San Antonio.

His uncle, Dennis Robertson, told Yahoo Sports in May that “it just became a lack of trust” with Leonard’s injury management and the relationship could never recover.

‘Uncle Dennis’ reveals why Kawhi Leonard left the Spurs

The rest has been history. Leonard won a title in Toronto and is once again in the mix for a championship, alongside George.

The Spurs have made the playoffs without Leonard in the fold, but are currently in the midst of a seven-game losing streak and looking for answers after a 5-10 start.


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