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The Nuggets were warned Paul George would leave them for the Lakers in free agency

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Denver attempted to deal despite being told they shouldn’t.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics were the two most widely reported upon suitors for Indiana Pacers wing Paul George at the NBA trade deadline, but they weren’t the only team to make an offer for him.

Marc Stein of ESPN reported that Denver “made a ‘monster’ offer” for the Pacers All-Star as well, although according to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical, the team was told (presumably by George’s camp, although Wojnarowski doesn’t specify) not to.

Wojnarowski said on “The Vertical Podcast with Woj” that Denver was “warned” that George would “go to the Lakers if you trade for him.” However, Wojnarowski added that this information did not dissuade Denver from making a deal that didn’t include Nikola Jokic or Jamal Murray.

Without those two players involved it seems unlikely Denver could have gotten a deal done anyway, but the thing of note here is just how many smoke signals about George’s interest in Los Angeles is.

Multiple national reporters are writing about it, and not just that he has interest, but using phrases like “hell-bent” on getting to the Lakers and the team being a “very, very real threat” to sign him in free agency.

George won’t be a Laker until the moment when and if he is, but this at least on the surface to appear to be genuine interest, and not just a leverage ploy to convince the Pacers to get him more help. If George makes an All NBA team this year, the Pacers could offer him an extension worth 35 percent of the cap with annual raises. If he doesn’t, the raw pay-cut he’d have to take to end up in Los Angeles would be lessened, which could put it in play for George’s services.

Whatever happens, the whispers are making it look more and more like the Lakers could be a real option for George in the summer of 2018.

Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here or listen to our episode on George below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.