Seemingly every week, more and more signs point towards Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George having an interest in playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Zach Lowe of ESPN’s latest column on George’s situation with the Pacers is no different, featuring the Lakers as a supporting character making ominous cameos throughout the piece.
Lowe reports that the Lakers “loom as a threat in free agency” (something Pacers president Larry Bird called “fake news” because of course he did), and that Los Angeles “might be the one team confident enough to wait for George's free agency” rather than giving up assets for him over the summer.
“George's interest in L.A. is real, and widely known,” writes Lowe. “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.”
Should the Lakers actually give up assets for George, or wait for him in free agency? It’s one of the chief questions that the Lakers’ new front office of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will have to answer over the offseason.
In prior years the Lakers have patiently waited to attempt to sign stars into cap space, but given how that resulted in paying Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng $136 million over four years, the new team may not be eager to try that route again.
That concern will have to wait until the summer, when the Lakers and Pacers can see where they stand.
The Pacers could be able to offer George a gargantuan super-max if he makes an All-NBA team, which would likely be enough to keep him in Indiana. The Lakers could have a top-three pick in the loaded 2017 NBA Draft to offer as part of a package for George, or to ease the pain of offering a different member of their young core for him.
All that’s clear right now is that these rumors aren’t going away anytime soon, and will likely heat up further when the weather does.