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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Billy Donovan admits he was taken aback by Paul George’s trade request

Billy Donovan

Paul George’s request for a trade this summer came as a shock to everybody on the outside, and apparently even some on the inside as well.

In an interview with Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman that ran this weekend, Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan discussed George’s exit.

“I was taken [a]back, because … I think Paul enjoyed his time here,” Donovan said. “I do think when he first came here, there was a lot of speculation. ‘This is only going to be a one-year experiment and then he’s going to want to get back to LA.’ Paul’s obviously got a lot of ties and affinity for LA and where he’s from. I get that part of it. I get that part for his family. His mom and dad are great people. Yeah, It catches you.”

The Southern California native George was traded per his request to the LA Clippers this summer, pairing him with fellow star forward Kawhi Leonard. George’s departure ended a two-year run with Donovan and the Thunder where he earned First Team All-NBA and All-Defensive honors but failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs with them.

The end of the George era (and consequently the Russell Westbrook one as well) was similarly difficult on Oklahoma City’s general manager. At least now though, the team will be able to jumpstart their rebuild with the treasure chest of assets that they received for both players.

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