It is no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to Indiana Pacers star Paul George in recent weeks, as George would give the Lakers that All-Star caliber player they have lacked since Kobe Bryant’s retirement, and it has been reported that George is “hell-bent” on coming to his hometown Lakers.
While it seems like a match made in heaven, George is not set to hit free agency until Summer 2018, so the Lakers front office is currently in a bit of a dilemma.
Ideally the Lakers wait until George hits free agency and sign him to a contract so they are able to keep all of their young assets. But that comes with some risk as the Pacers could trade George elsewhere to somewhere that he can compete for a championship, or George could elect to either re-sign with the Pacers in free agency as he can receive more money, or he can sign elsewhere, as Laker fans have seen with so many other big name free agents that were linked to the Lakers in recent years.
So the best option for the Lakers may be to trade some young assets for George this offseason. While it would be tough losing some young, talented players, getting George to Los Angeles could help draw other stars as early as this offseason as guys like Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Lowry, among others are all set to hit free agency.
Other than the current Lakers coaching staff, perhaps the person most familiar with what the Lakers have in their young core is former head coach Byron Scott. In a recent interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Scott said that he would trade some of those young players in a deal for George:
"I would deal some of those young guys and get Paul George." – Byron Scott #LakersNation
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) May 8, 2017
It is no secret that Scott was not too fond of the team’s young players when he coached them, which is part of the reason he is no longer coaching the team. He and point guard D’Angelo Russell in particular did not see eye to eye on a lot of things, so it comes as no surprise that Scott would be willing to trade him and others for George.
Scott’s former backcourt mate, Magic Johnson, now holds the title of president of basketball operations for the Lakers, so he along with general manager Rob Pelinka are the guys who will have to make the tough decision that will greatly impact the future of the most storied franchise in the NBA.