Paul George and the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked together since the trade deadline in February and ever since then the rumors have been non-stop. George reportedly has been pretty open about his desire to come to L.A. and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson not so subtly told the world of his interest in bringing him in.
The most recent bit of news was a bit of a surprise as Larry Bird stepped down as president of the Pacers. GM Kevin Pritchard has stepped up as head of basketball operations for the Pacers now, but the question of George’s future remains the same.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Bird stepping down didn’t have much of an impact on George’s mindset, and he is hell-bent on coming to Los Angeles:
Whether in free agency two summers from now or via trade before then, the four-time All-Star is still hell-bent on joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe now more than ever.
Of course, all of the George to L.A. rumors have been contingent on the Pacers being unable to build a contender around him. George’s preference has always been to remain in Indiana, with the Lakers being the high-profile backup plan.
One major advantage the Pacers could have is the amount of money they could offer George. If he were to make an All-NBA team this year, the Pacers would be able to offer him an extension worth around $70 million more than any other team. The extra money may not be enough to keep him around however, according to Amick:
But even if they can, it’s not necessarily the silver bullet in this situation that so many have assumed. George truly cares about winning, and that means he’s not about to take the extra millions to stay just because it fattens his already-thick wallet — especially considering he could sign a similar deal with the Pacers next summer so long as he earns All-NBA honors next season.
Needless to say there are a ton of factors at play when discussing George’s future with the Pacers and the potential of the Lakers acquiring him this summer. The offseason is always crazy, but this one looks to be even more unpredictable than usual.