Paul George returns to Indiana on Wednesday night a hated man. The forward didn’t exactly request a trade, but told the Pacers that he would not sign a long-term extension with the club. When that information was made public, the Pacers had no choice but to trade him so they could get some kind of assets for George before he walked in free agency this upcoming summer.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were the surprising winners of the ensuing George sweepstakes, and the Thunder doubled down on that win-now mentality when they later acquired Carmelo Anthony. But the team has struggled this year, and at two games under .500, they’re trying to piece it together game by game.
The Pacers, meanwhile, have thrived with former Thunder guard Victor Oladipo, who is having a monster year in Indiana. That set the stage for a unique meeting between the two teams, where many in the local media have compared George to Oladipo. But George wasn’t having it, and said it’s unfair to take away from “Vic time” in Indianapolis by bringing up the past.
George spoke to the media before the game and said he doesn’t want to stoke the comparisons, mostly saying he was happy to see the Pacers doing well without him.