The Los Angeles Lakers landing superstar Paul George seems inevitable with the perennial All-Star making it clear through his agent Aaron Mintz that he wants to sign with the team next summer. The question now is whether the Lakers can trade for him or simply wait until July of next year to bring him in.
With a number of playoff-caliber and potential title-contending teams going after George, the pressure is on Magic Johnson and the Lakers brass to make a move now as opposed to waiting for free agency next year. George could get traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, or Houston Rockets and change his mind after being in a winning environment for one season.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Lakers remain in hot pursuit of George on the trade front with the NBA Draft now in the rearview:
Although no trade for George came to fruition last week, sources say that both the Rockets and the Lakers remain determined to keep pushing for their own George deals. It’s widely believed that the Celtics, meanwhile, want to sign a marquee free agent this summer such as Utah’s Gordon Hayward and then trade for George.
At this point, it seems as though the Lakers are only willing to offer so much in a deal for George with the knowledge that he’ll supposedly be coming to Los Angeles in a year regardless of where he’s traded by the Pacers. Obviously, there are no guarantees which may force Magic and company to offer more in a deal if they feel like any of these teams in the running to trade for George are a serious threat to sign him long-term.
Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle have seemingly been dubbed the expendable pieces on the Lakers roster right now with the team refusing to include Lonzo Ball or Brandon Ingram in a deal for George. The Lakers could be playing the waiting game with the Pacers as Pritchard and the team’s front office weight their options on a potential blockbuster deal.