Devean George Wants to Re-Sign with Warriors
So where does George, a Golden State forward, want to sign this summer when he becomes a free agent? He hopes to return to the team that entered Tuesday tied for the NBA's third-worst record.
"I want to stay here and play under Nellie,'' George said before Tuesday's game at Washington about seeking to remain with Warriors coach Don Nelson and his up-tempo style. "I like it. I just like the freedom to play ball. If you play hard for coach, he loves you. If you play hard, he has no problems ... He gives you freedom. He's really easy to play for."
"There's a niche (with Golden State) that I can help. And really with a young team, you need a mixture of guys on the team. You need some vets, you need some some guys who have been through it.''
George, 32, entered Tuesday averaging 4.8 points for the 23-53 Warriors. His career average is 5.6 while having played for some of the NBA's better teams the past decade.
George won rings with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, 2002 and also played in the 2004 Finals. His Dallas team went 67-15 in 2006-07.
In February 2008, the Mavericks tried to trade George to New Jersey, on its way to a 34-48 season, in a deal that would have landed star point guard Jason Kidd. George, who was able turn down the deal due to being on a one-year contract that would make him an early-Bird free agent at season's end, rejected it and the Mavericks had to spend millions of extra dollars by signing inactive free agent Keith Van Horn to make the deal work.
Considering his history of being on winners and his reluctance to go to a losing New Jersey outfit, some might consider it a surprise George doesn't foremost want to sign this summer with a contender. But George said it wasn't because of the record he turned down the Nets.
"Really, not going to New Jersey wasn't really because it was a losing situation,'' said George, whose only previous team to miss the playoffs was the 2004-05 Lakers although he didn't play in the postseason last season with the Mavericks due to a knee injury. "You want to go somewhere where a team wants you, where they have plans or they have a way to use you in some way. You don't really want to go anywhere where you're not on the radar.''
While he experienced some friction for turning down the trade, George said overall it didn't cause him too much difficulty.
"It comes and goes,'' George said. "Not a bad rap. A lot of people understood what I did. A lot of players understood what I did. I got a lot of support from people while it was going on, teammates, guys on other teams.''
And even initially miffed Mavericks owner Mark Cuban got over it.
"He signed me for two more years after that,'' said George, who last summer was traded after one more Mavericks season to Toronto and soon after was dealt to the Warriors. "It's a business. He understands ... Bygones are bygones.''
Now, George and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, will look to negotiate another deal. It remains to be seen if George can get money similar to the $1.6 million he's making this season, but George will have simple instructions this summer for Bartelstein.
"We'll see what happens at the end of the year, but I definitely will be telling my agent to call these guys back,'' George said of the Warriors.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@christomasson