George pens emotional farewell to Thunder after joining Leonard at Clippers

Paul George will join Kawhi Leonard at the Los Angeles Clippers, but before he gets settled, he thanked Oklahoma City Thunder.

Paul George has moved to Los Angeles Clippers.   -  Getty Images

Paul George farewelled the Oklahoma City Thunder after moving to Los Angeles Clippers to team up with NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

In-demand free agent Leonard left NBA champion Toronto Raptors for the Clippers in a blockbuster deal after the Los Angeles franchise agreed a trade with the Thunder. The Clippers sent five draft picks, plus Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for six-time All-Star and 2018-19 MVP finalist George.

Ahead of his move to Western Conference rivals the Clippers, George — who left Indiana Pacers for Oklahoma City in 2017 — thanked the Thunder.

Read | Raptors thank Leonard and Green ahead of LA moves

"Thank you Oklahoma for two great years, you took me in as one of your own from the day I touched down," George wrote via Instagram on Saturday.

"Thank you to the fans who make representing those 3 letters mean something. Thank you to Sam and Clay for being the best management a franchise and player could ask for.

"Thank you to the friends within the organisation that took care of my family and I whenever we needed help. The picture shown is a bond that can't be broken I truly loved and enjoyed the race from start to finish. Thank you OKLAHOMA! You already know what it is @russwest44! Love brodie!"

 

Leonard was heavily recruiting George to join him at the Clippers, even though the latter had signed a four-year deal with the Thunder last offseason. 

The Thunder could have denied George's request and tried to make it work, but they reportedly were concerned it could turn into a situation similar to Anthony Davis' departure from New Orleans Pelicans — which eventually sent the disgruntled big man to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Oklahoma City finished the regular season in sixth position in the Western Conference with a 49-33 record. The Thunder suffered a disappointing early exit from the playoffs at the hands of Portland Trail Blazers.

George averaged 28 points on 43.8 per cent shooting in 2018-19. He also averaged 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 77 games last season.