NBA star Paul George would be joining the Los Angeles Lakers – if Jimmy Kimmel had his way.
George, who plays for the Indiana Pacers, appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! TV Show on Monday night.
“I know I’m always going to get those ties; I’m an L.A. kid,” said George, who grew up in the high desert area of Palmdale and whose high school is 70 miles from the Staples Center.
George, 27, just wrapped up his third season of a five-year, $91 million contract. But he can opt out of the deal following the 2017-18 season.
That puts the Pacers in danger of losing George for nothing after this upcoming season, especially if Indiana fails to contend for a title.
George has said he wants to play for a team capable of winning a championship.
Indiana is great. It’s my second home. But it’s not California.
Former Fresno State Paul George during an interview with The Bee in January
The Pacers finished 42-40 this season and were bounced out of the first round of the playoffs by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In addition, George implied he missed being in California during an interview with The Fresno Bee in January while in Sacramento.
“Indiana is great,” George said then. “It’s my second home. But it’s not California.”
Kimmel, a notable Lakers fan, showed George a clip of a preview Kimmel Live! segment that featured Lakers icon Magic Johnson.
As the Lakers president of basketball operations, Johnson is not allowed to openly recruit George to join the Lakers.
But Johnson said he’d wink in George’s way if they ran into each other to signal he should play for the Lakers.
23.7 Paul George’s points-per-game average, which ranked 15th in the NBA
To which George replied: “I love Magic, great dude.”
Then Kimmel quickly chimed in and drew a big laugh, including one from George:
“Good, you’re going to be working for him.”