Paul George gave Pacers a 'gut punch' with news of desired departure

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News that Paul George wants to leave the Indiana Pacers was like a "gut punch" for franchise president Kevin Pritchard.

According to Pritchard, he has not had any direct conversation with George - who has been persistently linked with the Los Angeles Lakers - since it was revealed he did not want to play in Indiana any longer.

George's agent, Aaron Mintz, is said to be the one who informed the Pacers president about the NBA player's decision, and it came as a shock to the team.

"For me it was gut punch," Pritchard said. "It was a total gut punch because we had many conversations over the summer about players that we'd like to add, a little bit of a style we'd like to play.

"In my opinion, I was very inclusive with him and the message over the summer up until this weekend was: 'Let's build a winning team.' When that came in that he wanted to look at another place, it was gut punch for us."

Pritchard did not like how the news of George's intentions were leaked to the media, stating its emergence has been a challenge for him and the entire front office.

"It couldn't have come at a worse time," Pritchard said. "If we would have known this a few months ago, I think we could have been more prepared. Becoming public was a big issue."

As for his feelings, Pritchard said he has to put those aside for now to help the team become the best it can be.

"You've got to get past mad," Pritchard said. "He has his own perspective of the situation, and I tried to see that through his eyes. I can be empathetic because he wants to go back home, or potentially go back home.

"But I have to get past mad because we will make good decision around here if we're methodical. We didn't put ourselves in it, he did. I know he likes Indiana. I don't think it's that. It's not ideal for us, but we have to do what's best for our organisation."