It’s well-known that the Los Angeles Lakers intend to be major players in free agency this summer when the likes of Paul George, LeBron James, and DeMarcus Cousins will be available. They have made moves to free up their cap space, with more likely to come so that they can potentially land two of the biggest names of the summer.
However, last summer the Lakers had an opportunity to get George in house one year early when the Indiana Pacers decided to trade their star rather than risk losing him for nothing. George made it known that he wanted to play for his hometown Lakers, but with the Pacers reportedly asking for multiple first-round picks, George ultimately was shipped off to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
With the Thunder taking on the Lakers in Los Angeles on Wednesday, George spoke about whether he regretted that word got out about his desire to play in the city in which he grew up, via Erik Horne of The Oklahoman:
“I have no regrets at all. All that was said was a destination I would have loved to go to. There wasn’t a gun pointed to the head, “hey, send me here.” I just stated somewhere I wanted to go play. You ask 87 percent of guys in the league if they would love to go back home and play for their city, play for their home. That’s all that I stated, that I would love to go back home and play for my city.”
From the Lakers perspective, George explaining how much he would love to play for his hometown has to be encouraging. The Thunder are starting to pick up steam and win games, but Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will have to hope that his desire to come home remains as strong as ever.
While the Lakers can’t offer the benefit of playing alongside Russell Westbrook, they do have a solid young team that includes a pass-first point guard in Lonzo Ball, which would allow George to be featured more on offense.
Of course, if the Lakers can land a second star to sign on with George, like James, that certainly wouldn’t hurt their case either.
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