Paul George has made it clear: He wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Indiana Pacers star has one guaranteed year left on his contract. George has an opt-out clause in his agreement with the Pacers, allowing him to walk away from his contract and play where he chooses to.
Whether the Pacers trade Paul George or not, he plans to play for the Los Angeles Lakers next season, according to Yahoo Sports. Should the Lakers wait until he hits NBA free agency or seek a trade for Paul George now?
George at his best is a top 10 NBA player, one whom the Los Angeles Lakers are likely going to target next offseason. Circumstances could change, including injuries and interests from other NBA teams.
A gruesome leg injury nearly derailed Paul George’s career; suffering another serious injury could decrease his overall effectiveness as a player. Knowing that and realizing they will lose George for nothing, the Indiana Pacers have an incentive to deal him, and the Lakers have an incentive to trade for him now.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in the position to get a jumpstart on next year’s free agency period by guaranteeing they will have one of the best players available early. Cost should be the only thing the Lakers are concerned about.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 20, 2017
If the Indiana Pacers are to trade Paul George they will want a reasonable return for him.
An ideal return for the Pacers in a Paul George trade could be a young emerging player and a draft pick or two. With only one year left on his deal, George is a rental player. That hurts what the Pacers can ask for. Any team looking to trade for George knows this, and their offers will reflect accordingly. That is why the Lakers should strongly consider making a move for Paul George one season early.
The Lakers can be modest with a trade offer. They have reportedly stated that certain assets are off limits if they engage the Pacers in trade talks. Just as George made it clear that he wants to play for the Lakers, the Lakers have made it clear what they will not offer in a trade for him.
Bleacher Report is citing that Brandon Ingram and the No. 2 pick in the draft are both non-starters in trade negotiations for Paul George. That still leaves a few other players who could interest the Pacers in a George trade.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 19, 2017
Guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson could both intrigue the Pacers in a Paul George trade. The same can be said about Lakers’ power forward Julius Randle. Or the Lakers can just wait until next summer and sign George outright.
Other teams are reportedly interested in Paul George. Those teams that have a quality player, who they can trade for George without much of a problem.
The two most notable teams looking into a trade for Paul George are the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers.
According to ESPN, the Indiana Pacers have contacted the Cleveland Cavaliers regarding a trade for Paul George. If a trade were to happen, Kevin Love would be one of the players the Pacers would get in return.
Paul George to the Cavaliers would help them become a more uptempo basketball team, thus giving them a better chance at keeping up against the Golden State Warriors. The Pacers would get an all-star in Kevin Love, who could keep them in the playoff mix.
Because there is competition for Paul George, the Los Angeles Lakers might sit things out and wait until next summer. That way, they can hold on to their assets or use them to add someone else, knowing that Paul George will be with them next July.
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