The NBA trade deadline came and went, and some of the biggest names on the market will be wearing the same uniforms. Translation: Some of the biggest names will be staying put. One of those names is, of course, Paul George. However, while PG might be with the Indiana Pacers for the rest of the season, fans should not be surprised if he eventually leaves his current team for the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to the latest rumor swirling around (via Sam Amick), if the Pacers aren’t title contenders, then George is “hell-bent” on playing for the Lakers.
I repeat: Paul George – barring a title chance in Indy – is hell-bent on heading for Laker Land. This message has been sent throughout NBA.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 23, 2017
If you are the Lakers or a fan of the Lakers, then that should be music to your ears. After all, Los Angeles might not be a title contender this year, but it has plenty of young pieces, which means it could be an NBA title contender in no time.
Case in point: D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, and Larry Nance Jr.
While all of those players still need time to grow, no one should be surprised if (and when) Russell and Ingram are making All-Star teams in the very near future. Adding a player like Paul George into the mix would seriously get the Lakers’ rebuild heading in the right direction at a very fast pace.
George — and this might come as a shocker to some — is only 26-years-old.
This season, he is putting up 22.3 points, 3.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 forward is also making it rain from behind the arc as he is shooting 38.2 percent from deep.
Given the young talent that the Lakers have, and the fact that Los Angeles (the city and the team) tends to attract NBA players, it’s only a matter of time before the Lakers start landing some of the biggest free agents in the sport.
While it remains to be seen if George alone could make Los Angeles a title contender, especially since the Golden State Warriors are stacked with All-Stars, landing George would be a monster move.
With all of that said, Paul George will not be a free agent until after the 2017-18 season. However, that will give players like Russell and Ingram some time to develop. Not to mention, the current powerhouses in this sport could have different makeups. Players tend to do a lot of moving around in the NBA, after all.
For both Lakers/Paul George's sake, it seems more likely they'll wait for George in free agency than try to get him in trade
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 22, 2017
Even if the Lakers don’t land George, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them making some noise in free agency. At the very least, they still have some very talented players who should be future stars for this franchise.
Reminder: Randle was drafted No. 7 overall in the 2014 draft, Russell was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2015 draft, and Ingram was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2016 draft. Randle is, of course, the oldest at 22-years-old. Russell is 21, and Ingram is 19.
No matter what happens in free agency, as long as the Lakers’ young players pan out, it is only a matter of time before Los Angeles is competing for titles once again.
In terms of this season, the Lakers hold a 19-39 record, which is the third-worst record in the NBA. Clearly, Los Angeles still has quite the uphill battle, but the future looks rather bright, with or without Paul George.
As for the Pacers, they are 29-28, which is good enough for the No. 6 seed in the East.
While this was not the craziest deadline day in NBA history, some intriguing deals did go down. For example, the Chicago Bulls were involved in a big trade, and the Philadelphia 76ers shipped away one of their young bigs.
[Featured Image by Dan Mullan/Getty Images]