Paul George: Clippers’ initial offer was ‘disrespectful’

Paul George said he received a “disrespectful” first offer during his season-long negotiations with the Los Angeles Clippers before eventually signing a four-year, $212 million with the Philadelphia 76ers as a free agent.

Speaking on “Podcast P with Paul George,” the nine-time All-Star said Los Angeles opened negotiations with a two-year, $60 million offer in October.

“I never wanted to leave LA,” George said on the podcast. “LA is home, this is where I wanted to finish at, and I wanted to work as hard as possible to win one in LA. That was the goal, to be here and be committed to LA. As it played out though, the first initial deal was I thought kind of disrespectful. 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. That’s crazy!’ I’m like, ‘Naw, I’m not signing that.'”

George said he wanted a deal similar to the reported three-year, $152.4 million extension that Clippers gave to Kawhi Leonard in January. The holdup there was that George wanted a no-trade clause.

George said the best in-season offer was around $44-45 million per year. He cut off negotiations not long after Leonard signed his extension.

Leonard and George both joined the Clippers in the summer of 2019.

“I’ll take what Kawhi got, no problem,” George said. “I was cool with that and we were still taking less. Kawhi took less, so if Kawhi takes less, it’s not about me being paid more than him.

“Y’all give him that, give me that. They didn’t want to do that.”

George said he informed Leonard that he was going to leave for Philadelphia.

“I owed Kawhi that conversation,” George said. “He understood like, ‘Go get your bag.’ I look at Kawhi as one of my best friends in this league. Somebody that I (expletive) with. Our families love each other. So it was tough to leave him just with how much I enjoyed being out there with him. That weighed a lot on me, just, ‘Damn, I’m leaving my boy.’ We talked and he gave me his blessings of like, ‘Man, just go do what’s best for you.'”

George averaged 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 74 games last season.

In 14 NBA seasons with the Indiana Pacers (2010-17), Oklahoma City Thunder (2017-19) and Clippers, George has career averages of 20.8 points, 6.3 boards, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals across 867 games (819 starts).