Paul George revealed he has already been in contact with Russell Westbrook as he eagerly anticipates linking up with this year's NBA MVP at Oklahoma City Thunder.
It was confirmed last week that George had been traded to the Thunder by the Indiana Pacers, with Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis moving in the opposite direction.
Like many observers, George himself conceded his surprise at joining the Thunder, but cannot wait to get started alongside his new team-mate, who set a new record of 42 triple-doubles last season.
"I thought I was going to, like, four or five other teams that were pretty active in the trade. When I found out it was OKC I was quite surprised, but at the same time I was happy about the trade," George said.
"I was thrilled, I was looking forward to it. All I wanted was a chance and an opportunity to play for something special and ultimately win a championship and right off the back I think I get that here, playing alongside Russ.
"We've had a lot of time to talk. Right after the trade I called him that night and we kind of talked and went over the excitement of playing alongside one another. Yesterday we got a good time, we had a lot of time to talk.
"It wasn't even about basketball. Just vibing together and getting to know one another and, I think, creating a friendship there."
Asked about the prospect of playing with Westbrook, George hopes he will be able to release some of the pressure on the MVP's shoulders.
"For myself, just running the floor, creating space for him to operate. He's so hard to stay in front of, he's going to attract double teams night in and night out, almost every possession.
"So I think for myself it will be easy to space the floor and be a knock-down shooter for him. And I think the opposite. I demand double teams and [I am] a guy teams scout for and try to prep for.
"I think both of us... he doesn't have to have the pressure of shouldering all that workload and have to feel he has to do it alone, as he's never had, but I don't want him to have that pressure at all.
"I think we'll work really well. I'm excited about this journey with him, and I'm excited to rep those three letters."
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