The Los Angeles Lakers have already let it be known that this offseason will be an extremely important one for the franchise, with many major events set to take place. While Lakers fans patiently await the fate of the May 15 NBA Draft Lottery, the front office has been heavily linked to stars such as Paul George of the Indiana Pacers.
The All-Star has already let his feelings be known in regards to the Pacers, with a lack of a winning culture and bonding team experience that occurs to winning teams. The 2016-17 was filled with drama, teammate altercations and a lack of chemistry on the court.
George has one year remaining on his contract with the Pacers, with his impending status as a potential All-NBA player heavily influencing his contract situation with the Pacers and possibly the Lakers. The California native has roots back to California, while idolizing Kobe Bryant growing up in Palmdale.
The 27-year-old made a visit to Disneyland on Monday, which actually happened to be a day before his birthday. During his visit to the happiest place on earth, George was bombarded by dozens of fans, chanting for him to join the Lakers, via Erick West’s Twitter:
— Erick West (@Mendozaaa__) May 1, 2017
With the Lakers set to ponder the trade interest of the Pacers, many fans and aficionados around the NBA have already begun to get used to the idea of George with the Lakers. George stated earlier this season that he was hell-bent on joining the Lakers, in a position to take over as the next franchise star in Los Angeles.
However, George made comments in the opposite direction on Monday, when Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard stated that George was in sync about remaining with the team during their exit interviews. With Larry Bird stepping down as the president of basketball operations, it really puts the Pacers franchise in a bind.
George is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 season, able to test the market and ponder the possibility of playing for different teams in the NBA. If George doesn’t agree to an extension, the Pacers can hope to re-sign him during the 2018 offseason, but also have a risk in letting him go without receiving any assets in return.
While the three-time All-NBA player enjoys his pre-birthday celebrations at Disneyland with his friends and family, he also enters an offseason filled with a lot of questions. While Lakers fans always do a phenomenal job with their recruitment pitches, it ultimately remains in the hands of the Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson and whether they want to bite the bullet on a possible trade.