George: Westbrook's authenticity kept me in OKC

California native Paul George was so certain he was joining the Los Angeles Lakers two years ago that he informed the Indiana Pacers of his intention to bolt.

That triggered a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder last offseason, which paved the way for George to come to the conclusion he preferred Oklahoma City over L.A.

He turned down a meeting with Lakers team president Magic Johnson to re-sign with the Thunder, a four-year agreement worth $137 million.

SEE ALSO: Kevin Durant: 'I don’t really care what people think about me ... I feel like I have all the power now'

"The reason why I didn't (take a meeting) is that coming down to free agency and before it was about to open (on July 1), I felt really good where I was at," George said in an interview with USA Today Sports.

"I felt I was in a good place with Oklahoma. I wanted to come back to LA. That story was true. The narrative on that was true. That's where my heart was. But this year, being in Oklahoma, I felt really good about the situation, I felt really good going forward, and I didn't want to waste nobody's time and take a meeting. And now I'm straddling the fence, putting more stress and more pressure on the situation. I felt good about it. I felt great where we were at, so I decided to do it early, to get it over with, and start to build. I didn't get that chance to last summer, because I got traded late in the summer. So I never got that chance to start fresh, to work to get better with Russ (Russell Westbrook) and work to get better with the Thunder. So I wanted to attack that early and get ready for my career."

Westbrook signed a three-year extension worth $85.6 million.

See recent NBA action from the summer: 

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NBA stars at USA Basketball men’s national team practice
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NBA stars at USA Basketball men’s national team practice
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Victor Oladipo #55 and Kyrie Irving #37 of the United States talk during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: DeMar DeRozan #35 of the United States is interviewed after a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Russell Westbrook #24 of the United States attends a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Paul George #39 of the United States shoots during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Russell Westbrook #24 and Blake Griffin #40 of the United States talk during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Paul George #39 of the United States shoots during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Kyrie Irving #37 of the United States watches a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: James Harden #47 of the United States shoots during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Kevin Love (L) #58 talks with Kyrie Irving #37 of the United States during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Devin Booker #31 of the United States shoots during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Kevin Durant #52 of the United States is interviewed during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: (L-R) Victor Oladipo #55, Kyrie Irving #37 and Russell Westbrook #24 of the United States joke around during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Kyrie Irving #37 and Russell Westbrook #24 of the United States joke around during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the United States works with DeMar DeRozan #35 during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: Blake Griffin #40 of the United States smiles during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Westbrook and George were part of the 23-player Team USA workouts in Las Vegas this week. Also present: Westbrook's former teammate, Kevin Durant. Durant bolted in free agency to join the Golden State Warriors. Durant's exodus sparked narratives about superstars not wanting to play with Westbrook.

By choosing to re-sign, George put Oklahoma City and Westbrook ahead of Los Angeles and the chance to play with LeBron James.

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NBA free agents to watch
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NBA free agents to watch

Chris Paul: Unrestricted free agent

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kevin Durant: Unrestricted free agent

See more: The Warriors baffled the NBA world with several awkward comments about Kevin Durant's next contract

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DeMarcus Cousins: Unrestricted free agent

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Clint Capela: Restricted free agent

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

Marcus Smart: Restricted free agent

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Isaiah Thomas: Unrestricted free agent

(Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

JJ Redick: Unrestricted free agent

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Aaron Gordon: Restricted free agent

(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jabari Parker: Restricted free agent

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Trevor Ariza: Unrestricted free agent

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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"It wasn't even about him going beyond and being extra (with his efforts)," said George. "It was about him being himself, him being genuine, him being authentic, him being real. Nothing about him is fake, and that's the people I want to be around, somebody who's going to tell it like it is, somebody who's going to push you, somebody who's going to encourage you, somebody who's going to motivate you, and vice versa. That's how I am. It just felt genuine."

--Field Level Media

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