NBA star Paul George may be setting up his "exit strategy" from the Indiana Pacers based on recent rumors. At least one analyst contends that the all-star has been making comments recently that indicate he is asking for Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers to possibly rescue him. While that would be one possible fit for George, the Boston Celtics probably top the list of teams that could potentially bring him onto their roster in a future season. So will George end up leaving the Pacers soon for the Lakers or Celtics?
On Thursday night, George and his team held a 26-point lead over LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 3 of their first-round NBA Playoffs series. However, "The King" and his crew made a huge comeback to snatch away a 114-109 victory on the road, per ESPN. It was a big night for both team's main stars, but LeBron captured all of the glory and has his team sitting pretty while George may be watching from the sidelines once again.
Last night, George put up an impressive performance, nearly getting a triple-double with 36 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists. However, he was overshadowed by James, who had a triple-double and the win. James finished with 41 points, 13 boards, and 12 assists while putting his team one win away from a sweep.
For many NBA stars, losing with their longtime team can become a frustration that often translates to strong opinions being voiced. Sometimes subtle comments made in post-game media sessions may be seen as cries for help. George has been the star in Indiana for years now, but it seems he may want to change his scenery soon. The Los Angeles Lakers could be a team that is calling for him, and George may be trying to quietly call out to their owner Magic Johnson to save him.
Recently, radio show host and personality Colin Cowherd spoke about this on his program, The Herd with Colin Cowherd. The outspoken sports critic suggested that George may be laying the groundwork for an exit from the Pacers. The basis for Cowherd's belief are the comments made by George following losses in Game 1 and Game 2. After the first matchup of the series, he called out CJ Miles for taking the last shot instead of him. After the second meeting with the Cavs, George talked about Lance Stephenson's sporadic play and how it can be "out of control" at times. After the third game, he was once again answering questions about why the team had issues.The Los Angeles Lakers are certainly in need of some star power in the wake of Kobe Bryant's departure. They have a promising group of young talent, but so far none of these players are quite at the superstar level that George could hold as the main player for the Lakers. There have been NBA draft rumors suggesting that the Lakers, should they manage to get the first or second pick, will grab Lonzo Ball, who has the potential to become a star in his home area.
Still, it's clear the Lakers could use George's talents. This past season, he helped boost the Pacers into the playoffs with 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Unfortunately, they drew the unenviable first-round matchup with the reigning champions, a team that barely slid out of the top spot. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls, led by another top forward in the league, Jimmy Butler, are up 2-0 against the No. 1 seeded Boston with games in Chicago on the way.
George is one option that Magic and the Lakers may go for, with Butler, Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward, or Paul Millsap giving them other options. Still, it would seem that George and Butler have the best chances of even coming close to replacing the star power that Kobe Bryant provided for fans to witness.
If not the Los Angeles Lakers, George is a guy that made sense months ago for the Boston Celtics. They're a team on the cusp of postseason success with plenty of available assets, yet they failed to pull the trigger on a big deal to land Butler or George. Still, the Celtics will possibly have the top overall pick in the draft, or at least a top three pick, which could provide them the ability to snag George.
For Paul George, there's one year left on his current contract from Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers. Ironically, he could end up leaving Larry's team to play for his rival, Magic Johnson, and the rival team that Bird's Celtics battled with over the years, the Los Angeles Lakers. Nonetheless, it's becoming clear with each loss and the frustrated comments that George may be ready to try to win somewhere else.
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]