The future remains uncertain for All-Star forward Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. All signs point to the soon-to-be 27-year-old leaving the Pacers in free agency next summer or possibly getting traded before he can leave the franchise without the team getting anything in return.
George reportedly wants to end up with the Los Angeles Lakers. The storied franchise would definitely embrace a superstar-caliber player like George if they can make it happen.
In the meantime, George is in limbo in Indiana and is dealing with a fair amount of criticism due to his very public desire to move on. Former Pacers teammate Danny Granger recently talked about George and how he feels the perennial All-Star shouldn’t be to blame for wanting to leave Indiana on Bill Reiter’s show, “Reiter Than You”:
“You look at him in that press conference (after losing to Cleveland) and his face and the dejection on it – the guy wants to win,” Granger said. “Money don’t make everybody happy, but winning and success and your craft, that does fill a void that a lot of these players have. So you can’t fault him if he leaves Indiana, I’ll tell you that.”
At this point, it seems inevitable that George will leave the Pacers. Indiana is not a team built to win a championship right now nor may it be in the foreseeable future. The Lakers, however, aren’t even close to a championship-caliber squad and could take even longer, but George may feel more comfortable back near his hometown of Palmdale and under the bright lights of Los Angeles with Magic Johnson trying to everything in his power to make the Lakers a contender once again.
As if there needed to be more turmoil or rumors floating around Indiana, Larry Bird chose to step down as team president on Friday in a surprising move that no one saw coming. Bird has claimed time and time again that he would try to continue his quest to building a contender around George, but now with Bird in a consultant role, the direction of the franchise is uncertain, and their face of the franchise could very well be headed elsewhere in a trade this summer.[Quote transcription via Jack Maloney of CBS Sports]