The Los Angeles Lakers and Paul George rumors are flying, and they rose to another level after his interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night. It was a good interview, but things got interesting when Kimmel started questioning George about him potentially joining the Lakers shortly.
Kimmel started off by showing George the clip of Magic Johnson making it clear that he wanted the Indiana Pacers’ franchise player in L.A. He then proceeded to ask George if that made any difference to George, which the Pacers’ superstar seemed to shrug off. It then came out that George plans to work out with Kobe Bryant shortly and will pick his brain about George’s future options.
Last season with the Pacers, George averaged 23.7 points per game to go along with 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. George took those numbers to a new level during the NBA Playoffs against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 28.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game. During the regular season, George shot 46.1 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 39.3 percent of his three-point attempts.
All of that being said, George has not shut down the rumors that he wants to play for the Lakers at some point. He has made it clear that he loves the city of Indiana and would love to stay long-term if the Pacers can put a championship contender around him.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) May 16, 2017
Check out a video of George’s response to Kimmel’s Lakers’ advances for yourself:
Los Angeles is trying to put a championship contender back in place and signing George would give them a big step in that direction. He would immediately become their franchise player and would help the Lakers become an attractive free agency destination once again.
George still has one more season left on his contract with the Pacers, but many think he will bolt next offseason in free agency. Indiana is hoping that he makes the All-NBA Third Team, which would allow them to offer him a massive extension that no other team could come close to matching. There has been no indication about whether George will make the All-NBA team, but many think he will end up missing.
Indiana’s general manager, Kevin Pritchard, believes that George would like to stay in Indiana. He knows that he has to bring in more help for George if he wants to make that happen.
Paul George talked about his interest in the Lakers during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. ????
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) May 16, 2017
Pritchard mentioned that George talked about staying in every scenario during his exit interview following the season.
“We talked about a lot of different things. In every scenario he talked about being here. That’s important. He wants to win. Picking up Lance late in the year made us a better team and got us into the playoffs. We want to win. We want successful teams year in and year out, and that has to do with Paul. He wants to win, the Pacers want to win, we’re on the same page.”
Needless to say, George’s name will be in rumors all offseason long. If the Pacers can’t convince him to sign a contract extension this offseason, there is a decent chance that Pritchard could consider trading his star player.
Paul George to Train with Kobe Bryant, 'Pick His Brain' https://t.co/XL4pAgKfol
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 16, 2017
Expect to see the Pacers be extremely active in free agency and on the trade market this offseason. If they want to keep one of the best players in franchise history, they will need to pick up another big name or two. Gordon Hayward is one name that has come up, although there are other players in free agency that could take the Pacers to the next level as well.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers will find a way to keep Paul George long-term? Will he leave Indiana to head back to Los Angeles? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images]