Paul George reveals Cavaliers attempted to pair him and LeBron James during the 2017 offseason - “Cleveland was close to getting me with Bron there"
The NBA's past few years have featured the era of superteams as franchises did their best to build superstar combos to maximize championship chances. LeBron James has been at the core of a number of these, and Paul George recently revealed he nearly became his running mate.
During the latest episode of "Podcast P with Paul George," the eight-time All-Star was asked if he was surprised that the OKC Thunder ended up being the destination when trade talks began during the end of his Indiana Pacers tenure. George said that he was and said that he thought he was going to be teaming up with LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I thought I was going to go to Cleveland," George said. "Cleveland was, like, close to getting me with Bron there. Not a lot of people know that."
Would Paul George and LeBron James work together?
Paul George was ultimately traded to the Thunder on June 30, 2017 in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The hope was that he could be the co-star that Russell Westbrook was missing after Kevin Durant's exit.
While both George and Westbrook had statistical success and led the Thunder to 48- and 49-win seasons in their two years together, they failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.
This was not George's last time being traded as following the 2018-19 season he was shipped from the Thunder. He landed with the Clippers in exchange for Danilo Gallinaro, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and five first-round picks with varying protections.
George linked up with Kawhi Leonard, but the duo has struggled to stay on the court together. Their greatest success was during the 2020-21 season when the Clippers made it to the Western Conference finals. In their four seasons together, Leonard and George have played just 113 games at the same time.
It is tough to think George would not have had a greater chance at postseason success if he had linked up with LeBron James. The Lakers superstar has since won a championship with Los Angeles and remains one of the best players in the NBA even at 38 years old.
Things have not worked out as hoped for Paul George with the Clippers and, while he did not say this, it is fair to wonder if maybe he wishes the Cleveland deal had occurred.