The Los Angeles Lakers may finally have something that has eluded the franchise for quite some time; a superstar that legitimately wants to join the team as a free agent. Paul George appears to have had enough. The perennial All-Star is fed up with struggling with the Indiana Pacers and will reportedly be ready to move on in NBA free agency in 2018 if the team is unable to construct a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference.
Although the Lakers always seem to be involved in rumors like these regarding stars supposedly wanting to come to Los Angeles, George heading back to his hometown is looking more and more likely with the storied franchise a legitimate threat to the Pacers, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe:
The Lakers threat to sign George in 2018 is very, very real. The Pacers will have limited means to jolt their roster in the interim, barring a huge surprise in free agency. Expect George talks to start again in the summer.
If this rumor of George’s interest in the Lakers turns out to be true, Magic Johnson will be off running in his new position as president of basketball operations. The question from on out is whether the team can acquire George sooner rather than later. The last thing Johnson and company want is to lose out on a superstar that actually wants to be in Los Angeles.
That being said, it would be safe to assume trade rumors involving George will ramp up once again this summer as Lowe suggested. The sit around and wait approach likely won’t bode well for the Lakers. Things can change quickly over the course of another 82-game season with the Pacers actually being able to turn it around, George having a change of heart or another appealing destination like the Boston Celtics intrigues the veteran forward.
In the meantime, the Lakers will focus on the rest of the 2016-17 NBA season with 24 games left ahead of Friday’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder.