The Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers may finally be working on a blockbuster trade involving superstar Paul George.
According to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, both teams are engaged in trade talks with the NBA Draft approaching:
League sources tell @RamonaShelburne and me: The Pacers and Lakers have engaged on Paul George trade talks in advance of Thursday's draft.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 20, 2017
Over the last few days, there has been seemingly endless speculation about Paul George’s future in the NBA. George’s agent informed the Pacers recently that he intends to opt out of his deal with the team next summer and won’t be returning to Indiana putting the pressure on team president Kevin Pritchard to trade the face of the franchise at some point between now and the NBA trade deadline in February.
Although many believed this could be a drawn-out process in which the Pacers brass evaluate all options leading up to February’s trade deadline, all signs point to George being dealt sooner rather than later. The Lakers, who are the favorites to land George in free agency next summer, seems to have all the leverage with the perennial All-Star letting it be known that any team that trades for him will only be a one-year rental before he leaves for Los Angeles.
Despite the leverage the Lakers brass currently has in trade talks, it will be interesting to see what it will take for a deal to get done between the two sides. Magic Johnson and company have been adamant about not wanting to trade their young assets, but may be forced to part with one or two of players of their talented young core to make this deal work and get George in Los Angeles now rather than in July of 2018.