The NBA offseason has been absolutely crazy this year and appears to have no intention of slowing down. Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George has been the hot name on the trade market since informing the Pacers that he will not return when he becomes a free agent next summer and that his preferred landing spot is with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics have been trying to get in on a George deal and are also expected to pursue free agent Gordon Hayward this summer. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Boston is now attempting to line up a series of moves that would result in them landing both Hayward and George:
The Boston Celtics are pursuing an aggressive summer plan of sequencing the signing of free agent Gordon Hayward and relinquishing the assets needed to complete a trade for Paul George, league sources told The Vertical.
While Lakers fans were hoping to land George this summer, the feeling was always that if Indiana wasn’t willing to do a deal with L.A., then George would simply sign next summer as a free agent. However, the Celtics apparently believe they can stop that from happening:
The Celtics have a growing confidence they could sign George to a contract extension, and keep him from leaving to his predetermined free-agent destination of the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told The Vertical. Boston’s belief that it can make George more than a one-year rental is fueling the franchise’s willingness to part with a significant package of assets, league sources said.
Of course, this would be a disastrous result for the Lakers, who just used a valuable asset in D’Angelo Russell to clear Timofey Mozgov’s deal off their books so they could make a run at George and other big names next summer.
If Boston gives its best offer possible, involving young players and draft picks, it would be nearly impossible for the Lakers to match. It would be extremely tricky, but Boston could also potentially find a way to renegotiate and extend George’s contract, which would prevent him from ever hitting free agency.
Should the trade go down, the Lakers have to hope that he doesn’t extend his deal so that they can still get a shot at him next summer.