NBA

Paul George reveals he wanted to stay in L.A. but felt proposal was ‘disrespectful’

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Now that Los Angeles is in the past and his future is set in Philadelphia, Paul George can speak freely about what kept him from remaining a Clippers star. According to the veteran, he never wanted to depart from California, but now revealed that the negotiations to extend him were surprisingly “disrespectful” and hard to digest. 

The forward signed a four-year, $212 million max free agent contact with the Sixers, but admitted in his own podcast that he was willing to stay with his former team with the same three-year, $150-million extension they gave Kawhi Leonard.

“I never wanted to leave L.A.,” George said on his show. “L.A. is home, this is where I wanted to finish at, and I wanted to work as hard as possible to win one in L.A. That was the goal, to be here and be committed to L.A. As it played out though, the first initial deal was I thought kind of disrespectful.”

Paul even let us in on what the Clippers front office offered him. “In all of this, no hard feelings, no love lost … it’s a business. So the first initial deal was like two years, 60. So I’m like, whoa, whoa, whoa,” he said. “That’s crazy! I’m like, ‘Naw, I’m not signing that.'”

However, even before the All-Star inked his new deal with the 76ers at the start of free agency, the L.A. club said in a statement that “the gap was significant” in talks to keep the athlete, as they had to be mindful of the new collective bargaining agreement.

“Heading into this offseason, our roster was constructed [with] three great players 33 and over, two of whom could become free agents,” the Clippers mentioned of negotiating with Leonard, George and James Harden, who finally did agree to a two-year, $70 million free agent deal to stay in California.

“We wanted to retain them on contracts that would allow us, under the constraints of the new CBA, to continue building the team. We negotiated for months with Paul and his representative on a contract that would make sense for both sides, and we were left far apart. The gap was significant,” it reads.

The All-Star veteran decided to honor his idol Kobe Bryant by choosing No. 8 jersey in Philadelphia

After seeing Paul George flashing his new 76ers jersey this weekend, we really can’t tell much of a difference as his former club uses the same blue-and-red variations. However, what we couldn’t keep our eyes off was the fact that the former Clippers star chose the No. 8 for next season, as a tribute to his idol Kobe Bryant.

This means that for the first time since 2015, Paul won’t be wearing his usual number 13. This also doesn’t mean that the veteran didn’t ask for his traditional jersey number, but he found out it as been retired for a long time to remember legendary big man Wilt Chamberlain.

The 34-year-old then recalled that the “Black Mamba” was born in Philadelphia and started his pre-professional career at Lower Merion High School before being picked by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 90s.

As George recalled, Kobe used the No. 8 shirt during his first decade in California. “I had to do it. C’mon man, I’m in Philly.” he said on his podcast this weekend. “My way of idolizing Kobe.”