L.A. Lakers Rumors: Even Without A Trade, Paul George Still Wants To Join Lakers

Throughout most of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers said they had no intention of making any big trades or moves before the year was up. As the trade deadline approached a month ago, they kept to their word but they did look into a few different things even though nothing really materialized. They're in last place in the Western Conference with the season coming close to its end and Paul George is rumored to still be interested in heading west before too long.

With a record of 20-51, the Los Angeles Lakers have not improved much upon last year's dismal 17-65 record. They are still behind on the 21-61 record from 2014/15 and 27-55 in 2013/14, and there are still 10 games left to go, but something has to change.

Many fans were hoping that a big blockbuster trade would take place at the deadline last month, but the Lakers stood fast in doing nothing. Now, they're heading toward the summer and will likely be players in NBA free agency, but can they somehow land Paul George before his contract is up?

la lakers rumors trade indiana pacers free agency paul george
[Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]

As it currently stands right now, Paul George's contract with the Indiana Pacers is set to run through the upcoming season, according to Sport Trac. There is a player option for the 2018/19 season, but it is not expected that the 26-year-old forward is going to take advantage of that and become a free agent next summer.

Still, it doesn't seem as if Paul George is looking to wait that long according to ESPN's Zach Lowe who says that chance of him playing in Los Angeles is very high.

"The Lakers? They might be the one team confident enough to wait for George's free agency. George's interest in L.A. is real, and widely known. But nothing is certain until you get that signature, and every day between now and that July 2018 day brings the risk of some unknown variable messing up your plans."
Lowe goes on to say that all of this is just a rumor right now which could strengthen if the Lakers end up with a top-3 pick in this year's draft. If that happens, Los Angeles could pair that pick with Brandon Ingram and look to land George a year before he becomes a free agent.

It is obvious the Lakers want Paul George. Now, it is obvious that Paul George wants out of Indiana and wants to play for the Lakers.

As the trade deadline approached in mid-February, there was a lot of talk about Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins leaving the Pacers or Sacramento Kings respectively. Rumors had them attached to a number of possible trade destinations and George ended up staying put, but Cousins didn't.

la lakers rumors trade indiana pacers free agency paul george
[Image by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]

Right under the gun, the New Orleans Pelicans were connected to both players, but they ended up pulling off a big trade to land Cousins. He will become a free agent this summer, but "Boogie" is already creating a nice relationship with Anthony Davis which could make the Pelicans into contenders next season.

Just this week, Cousins recorded a huge 41-point 17-rebound night as the Pelicans defeated the Memphis Grizzlies to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. As reported by the Times-Picayune, it may not mean much this season, but it could be huge for New Orleans if they can keep him around.

Rumors in the NBA are always just that and nothing more until something ends up coming from them or they fade into obscurity. For years, there were rumors that DeMarcus Cousins would end up with the L.A. Lakers and he still may, but for now, he's with the New Orleans Pelicans. On the other hand, the Lakers need help in Los Angeles and they have an interest in Paul George who also has a big interest in them.

Matters are helped in this situation by him being a free agent next summer, which could lead to a huge signing, which is just what the Lakers need. The thing is, they may not want to wait that long and fans may not deal with sitting through another dismal season.

[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]