Rumor season is heating up for the Los Angeles Lakers as the NBA Draft lottery draws closer, and Bill Simmons heard a fascinating rumor. The Lakers are planning on making a push for Paul George, using their top-three protected pick should they retain it along with "other" pieces to entice the Indiana Pacers, according to Simmons.
This matches the rumor that the Lakers are going to shop their lottery pick for an established star player, tired of rebuilding through the draft. Colin Cowherd cites two separate sources confirming the Lakers intent on trading out of the draft, and it makes perfect sense that the front office will at the very least weigh every option.
Adding fuel to the fire is the self-imposed deadline Jim Buss is racing against, promising to turn the Lakers back into a contender by the summer of 2017. He defined that goal as reaching the second-round of the Western Conference playoffs, and considering the Lakers finished with the worst record in the West, it's hard to imagine a top-three pick is going to vault them that far forward in a single season.
Nabbing a premium player like Paul George would make an immediate impact, but whether the Pacers would have any interest in moving their franchise cornerstone who's under contract through 2019 (player option) is questionable. That's where the "other" pieces bit comes in, and the Lakers do have attractive options to serve on a platter. Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson could all be desirable targets for Indiana to package with a top pick and Myles Turner, but how far would either side be willing to go?
It's a question worth pondering and a rumor worth leaving on the grill in preparation for the summer. It seems fairly clear the Lakers are going to be initiated in conversations of this magnitude should they retain their pick. George is one of the best players in the NBA and is the level of player a package built around a top-three pick and some type of combination of the young players the Lakers have should fetch.
Things are going to get very interesting if the draft lottery bounces in their favor again.