The end of LeBron’s second tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers nearly featured a Big 3 of King James, Kyrie Irving, and Paul George.

In June 2017, the Cavs—fresh off losing to Kevin Durant and Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals—were minutes away from landing then-Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George in a three-team trade involving the Denver Nuggets. The Pacers backed out at the last minute, and went on to trade George to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Weeks afterward, Kyrie asked for a trade out of Cleveland, ultimately landing with the Boston Celtics.

Nearly six years later, Paul George shed more light on how the deal fell through on an episode of Podcast P with Paul George.

“I thought I was gonna go to Cleveland,” George shared. “Cleveland was close to getting me with ’Bron there.”

According to George, Dahntay Jones, a former teammate and friend of LeBron, played the role of middleman, and took Paul to LeBron’s house to finalize the deal in person. 

“I’m chopping it up with ’Bron, like ‘Yo, how can we make this work?’” George recalled. “We’re trying to figure it out; he’s going back to [Cavs management], telling them how to get me. So I’m thinking like, ‘Oh, OK, we might make this happen. I might be with ’Bron over here in Cleveland.’”

Ultimately, the trade fell through because the Pacers didn’t want to trade their star player to a division rival.

“It fell through ’cause Cleveland and Indiana are in the same division,” George explained, adding that the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, and Toronto Raptors were also in the running to land the perennial All-Star.

After spending two seasons with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, George was traded in July 2019 to the Los Angeles Clippers, who’d recently acquired Kawhi Leonard. Over the past four seasons, Kawhi and George have turned the Clippers into a championship contender, though the pair have not yet led the team past the Western Conference Finals. 

Watch the full discussion on Podcast P at the 48:40 mark below.