The Los Angeles Lakers heard some potentially good news for the future of the franchise on Sunday. Superstar Paul George informed the Indiana Pacers that he will not be re-signing with the team after next season and prefers to join the Lakers in the summer of 2018.
With George making the NBA’s worst-kept secret public knowledge, the plot thickens regarding what the next move is for the Lakers. It would seem to be in the Pacers’ best interest to trade George now or at some point before the NBA trade deadline in February to get something in return.
Despite the pressure it puts on the Pacers brass to make a deal, the Lakers now have the leverage and reportedly won’t be moving their young assets in exchange for George, according to ESPN:
Although George would constitute a significant acquisition for Los Angeles, the rebuilding Lakers do not currently intend to part with any of their young assets in a trade with the Pacers, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The Lakers’ stance on trading their young assets may very well change in the coming months. George landing in Los Angeles seems inevitable at this point and the Pacers making a deal may be the only way to avoid the disaster of him leaving without the team getting anything in return.
Back in 2013, the Lakers faced a similar problem as they didn’t trade Dwight Howard before the NBA trade deadline that year and could only sit and watch as he left the team for the Houston Rockets. Los Angeles got nothing in return for Howard’s departure and have been rebuilding ever since.
With the Lakers now having leverage in the situation, it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out and whether George is wearing purple and gold to start next season or the season after. Trade rumors and endless speculation will continue as the Paul George sweepstakes presses on.