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Paul George addresses departure from Pacers: ‘I’m sorry for not holding on’

Paul George shoots the ball against the Atlanta Hawks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 12, 2017 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Paul George broke his silence on his departure from Indiana Monday in an interview with Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated.

In the piece, George addressed his reasoning behind leaving the Pacers, saying:

“There’s no right way to handle it. I get the frustration. I get why people are upset. But at the same time, I want the average fan to understand that we only get a small window to play this game, and more than anything, you want to be able to play for a championship. I wanted to bring that to Indiana. I really did. I love Indiana. That will always be a special place for me, and I’m sorry for not holding on. But I wasn’t sure we’d ever get a team together to compete for a championship, and that’s where all this came from.”

George says over the past year, he hadn’t made up his mind whether to stay with the Blue and Gold or leave for another team, but after Larry Bird stepped down, George thought:

“Here I am, the last guy (from the conference finals team), and I kind of felt a rebuild coming. I felt like the window had closed. I thought they were going in a different direction and I wanted to go in a different direction… I wanted them to have the opportunity to get something back if they didn’t want me to play that last year.”

George arrived in Oklahoma City Tuesday to a large welcoming party.