How serious will the Los Angeles Lakers be going after Indiana Pacers‘ star Paul George? NBA rumors are heating up regarding both teams. The NBA draft lottery results have NBA trade rumors swirling around at every turn. The Lakers are poised to take advantage of their draft position. It could turn into the addition of a star player. Someone like the Pacers’ Paul George.
With the Los Angeles Lakers landing into the No. 2 spot (courtesy of NBA.com) in the draft, most people expect them to take UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. Selecting Ball would become the next step towards their rebuilding project.
According to Sporting News, the Lakers are also strongly considering Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, but they could also decide to dangle the pick for a star. Although taking a prospect with the No. 2 pick would be the best course of action for the Lakers, especially one with superstar potential, the franchise was built by having established star power on the roster. It is safe to say that the appeal of playing for the Lakers is the lure of the bright lights and the big city.
Stars bring fans to Lakers’ games. Where the Lakers play, the famous Staples Center is a center of attraction for well-known celebrities. Those celebrities do not only come to Lakers’ games for the spectacle but for the star players on the basketball court.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been devoid of star players since Kobe Bryant retired. Would the addition of a player such as Paul George change things?
Lakers’ fans want something to root about, preferably a winning product. This is an NBA franchise which has failed to miss the playoffs only nine times, an astonishing number considering the Lakers debuted in the NBA in 1948. Five of the playoff absences were prior to 2013. It has been four seasons since the Lakers have played in the postseason.
Kobe Bryant leaving basketball left a hole, one which could be filled if the Lakers were to trade for a player of Paul George’s caliber.
As currently constructed, the Los Angeles Lakers are nowhere close to competing with the better teams in the Western Conference. Some would suggest that they are at least two all-star level players away from making the playoffs. That would explain the Lakers’ perceived interest in the Indiana Pacers’ George.
There is some rumored mutual interest (courtesy of Bleacher Report) between the Lakers and Paul George.
George is also reportedly going to meet (courtesy of ESPN) with Kobe Bryant during the offseason for workouts. It is a guarantee that Bryant will talk to George about his future. The opportunity to sell George on the Los Angeles lifestyle could loom prominently.
George is from Palmdale, California. Playing for the Lakers is his dream and would be a homecoming of sorts. Since the Lakers are in a need for a star, George fits the bill. The question is how will they go about acquiring him?
The Lakers could wait until he becomes a free agent in 2018 or they can try and trade for him. A trade seems like the logical choice for the Los Angeles Lakers, who has the assets to offer the Indiana Pacers.
One telling sign that the Pacers would be receptive to moving the small forward is an ESPN report citing that Pacers will not offer George a contract extension. NBA trade rumors began flying about some of the trade offers the Pacers received for George.
One of those offers, as recently reported by the Inquisitr, included a huge proposal of four first-round picks made by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks’ offer at the trade deadline was refused by the Pacers, but it is easy to speculate why.
Just because the Pacers turned the Hawks down, it does not mean the Lakers will be turned away as well.
The Hawks play in the Eastern Conference and are usually near the top of the standings, so those draft picks would likely be late first-rounders. The Lakers can offer the Pacers something that the Hawks did not — quality starters.
Multiple NBA teams are already evaluating trade packages for D'Angelo Russell, according to league sources. https://t.co/yM9KFcfEu2— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) May 17, 2017
D’Angelo Russell is one of the Lakers’ starters who could be used in a deal for the Pacers’ George. According to Sports Illustrated, there are several teams already preparing offers for the young point guard. One of those teams could be the Pacers, who may want to get something in return for Paul George versus losing him to free agency next year.
The Lakers would likely be open to a Paul George trade if the right pieces are involved. Could a trade offer of power forward Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and the No. 28 pick get the Pacers’ attention?
A potential Pacers’ core would include Randle, Russell, and center Myles Turner. Each of them would start the 2017-18 season under the age of 23. In a weaker Eastern Conference, the Pacers would remain playoff contenders with this core. That is what the Atlanta Hawks’ offer could not do.
As for the Los Angeles Lakers, they create a place to start whichever point guard they draft by moving D’Angelo Russell. Trading Randle would slightly set the Lakers back, but they can add a power forward in free agency or play Luol Deng at the four, with Larry Nance Jr. backing him up. Just getting Paul George in a trade would boost the Lakers in terms of respectability.
Lakers’ fans are still showing up to games, if for no other reason than the experience. What they want are more wins. Paul George can generate some notches in the win column. And he seems destined to be a Laker.
Can the Los Angeles Lakers entice the Indiana Pacers with D’Angelo Russell instead of the No. 2 pick? That would make the difference in a trade taking place between these two teams. Indiana’s insistence on the No. 2 pick would likely kill any trade overtures, especially given the fact that the Lakers see a future superstar with the pick. Add that to Paul George and they would be in prime position to return to their glory days.
D’Angelo Russell has the ability to be an all-star someday, but he may not whet the Los Angeles Lakers’ appetite for star power. Some would suggest that the same can be said for Julius Randle. As a combination, they are the equivalent to two lottery picks, just what they were drafted as. Will the Lakers use them to get Paul George?
[Featured Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]