Paul George could be back on the Celtics radar.

Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports

Don't feel bad, Celtics fans, Paul George was also surprised he was traded to Thunder

Ty Anderson
July 13, 2017 - 8:30 pm

Celtics fans weren’t the only ones blindsided by the trade that sent Paul George, a player long rumored to be Boston bound, to the Thunder just a couple of weeks ago.

Sold off for a shockingly low return, and not to one of the teams rumored to be battling for a one-year George rental -- the Celtics, Cavaliers, and Rockets were among those most interested in swinging a deal for the two-way superstar -- it turns out that George himself was more than surprised when he found out his new address.

“It was just surprising this team wasn't one of the teams that was -- that we had in mind,” George admitted at his Thunder introductory press conference. “We thought -- I thought I was going to like four or five other teams that were pretty active in the trade, and when I found out it was OKC, I was quite surprised, but at the same time, I was happy about the trade. I was thrilled. I was looking forward to it. You know, all I wanted was a chance and an opportunity to play for something special, and to ultimately try to win a championship. I think I get that here playing alongside Russ [Westbrook].”

It’s been reported that the Celtics offered the Pacers a whole lot to land George dating back to the 2017 NBA trade deadline. That report, for what it’s worth, has been denied by Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard, and Pritchard essentially called the C’s out as liars.

The truth of their trade talks is somewhere in the middle, as the Celtics likely would have been willing to include a Brooklyn pick or two had George agreed to an extension in Boston, but not if this was simply the C’s gambling on a year and a half or less of George with the hopes that he would entertain the idea of an extension (which is what the Thunder are doing with their acquisition of the four-time NBA All-Star).

The latter always seemed like a difficult sell, too, as it’s also been reported that George has legitimate interest in joining the hometown Lakers as a free agent in 2018.

George, who along with Westbrook can become a free agent next summer, addressed those rumors during his first media session in Oklahoma City.

“At the end of the day, all I want out of this is a chance. A chance every year to compete,” George said when asked about staying in Oklahoma City beyond this year. “You know, that's where it stemmed from of being linked to wanting to go home. Like I've been saying, I could come here and love it, as I have, been loving it here. If that's what -- at the end of the day, I know both myself and Russ are up at the same time. If we love where we're at and we feel that we could do something special here, I'm open to it.

“I'm open to it. But that'll be something we address at the end of the season.”

In Oklahoma City of all places.

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