The wild NBA offseason continued on Friday even before free agency officially began. The Indiana Pacers finally traded Paul George but not to the Lakers, Cavaliers, or any other rumored team. Instead, George was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The pairing of George and NBA MVP Russell Westbrook is certainly a formidable one, but not one that is expected to push the Thunder into title contention. Ultimately that is a good thing for the Lakers who are now banking on George coming to Los Angeles in free agency next summer.
The Lakers will still have to sell George on joining the franchise however, and one of the things they will push is the benefits that come with being a Laker according to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:
One of the under-the-radar items on the agenda of new Lakers executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, longtime agent and dear friend of Kobe Bryant, is to show the players in real terms what superstar benefits are available as a Laker.
Ding also notes that the Lakers have been letting George know about exactly that, and he wants in:
But it’s also an age where every star basketball player has his own brand to sell. The Lakers, under Johnson and Pelinka, have already conveyed to George behind the scenes how he can be the first to experience what they will do—and George wants in.
The Lakers can’t afford to breathe easy until they have George’s signature on a contract, but things certainly still seem to be pointing in the right direction for them. A lot can change between now and then however.
George being traded to the Thunder as opposed to the Cavaliers or Celtics was definitely a positive for the Lakers, but more work will need to be done. In the meantime, the Lakers will focus on rounding out their roster in free agency and getting this year’s team ready.