Paul George wanted to sign with Lakers … then the Pacers traded him

It’s hard to picture Paul George in purple and gold, but that almost was the case.

While speaking to  ESPN’s The Undefeated , the star forward and California native revealed he would have wound up in Los Angeles had the Pacers not traded him to the Thunder last year.

“It was 50-50 on deciding whether I wanted to come back home or if it was smarter to be in the situation I am in now,” George said. “But it wasn’t overstated. I wanted to play in L.A. That is where I wanted to go. Had that trade never went down, had I played one more year in Indy, I would have been in a Lakers uniform.”

Once he arrived in Oklahoma City, however, George connected with the team, particularly Russell Westbrook. He then signed a four-year contract extension worth $137 million in July.

“Going toward the summer and going toward free agency, I kind of had my mind made up talking with the team, talking with Russ and talking with the front-office,” George said. “I kind of felt good where we were at. Last [season], I didn’t get a chance to start with this team fresh. I got traded late. So, I picked up things late with the team. I wanted to get to it right away this time and start creating early.”

George is set to return to Los Angeles for the first time since inking his extension when the Thunder visit the Clippers at 10:30 p.m. ET Friday.