It was only four games into the new NBA season and Paul George had to already face the team he just left under less than ideal circumstances on Wednesday night.
It was during the offseason that George’s agents let it be known that he was planning to become a free agent after next season had concluded at Indiana. The disappointed Pacers decided to trade the face of their franchise to Oklahoma City. This was rather than play a season with a star that had no long-term future with the team and that perhaps they would get nothing in return.
George had a good run with the Pacers. He was a four-time All-Star and helped Indiana reach the Eastern Conference Finals twice. He talked about meeting up with his old team: “It’ll be emotional from a standpoint of it’s an organization that I started with, had a wonderful journey with, that I had seven unbelievable years with,” George said.
George was very close to Larry Bird, he was team president when the Pacers drafted him as their 10th pick in the 2010 draft. George also said that he appreciated the time he spent with Bird, who has stepped down as president but remains with the franchise as a consultant.
“His stories, his knowledge of the game, talking with him through playoff battles and his understanding,” George said. “He’s a legend. Hall of Fame player, Hall of Fame across the whole board – executive, coach. It meant a lot as a young player coming into this league. I was grateful to have that time talking to him and sharing conversations.”