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George pens emotional farewell to Thunder after joining Leonard at Clippers

By Opta
Paul George

Los Angeles, July 7: Paul George farewelled the Oklahoma City Thunder after moving to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

In-demand free agent Leonard left NBA champions the 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 the Indiana Pacers for Oklahoma City in 2017 – thanked the Thunder.

"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 the New Orleans Pelicans – who 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 the 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.

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Story first published: Sunday, July 7, 2019, 8:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 7, 2019
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