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NBA Free Agency Rumors: Paul George says Magic Johnson winking at him won’t make him join the Lakers

The All-Star deftly tried to dodge questions about his destination on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Image courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live

The Los Angeles Lakers’ intent to pursue Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George in free agency isn’t exactly a well-kept secret.

No, that cat was out of the bag about midway through the season, and then that proverbial cat set itself on fire and started streaking down Figueroa yelling “THE LAKERS MIGHT TRY AND RECRUIT PAUL GEORGE” when Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson went on Jimmy Kimmel Live and basically admitted he was going to tamper by winking profusely George if they ran into each other over the summer.

George had his own sit-down with Kimmel Monday night, and he did his best to not get himself in trouble when asked if that moment would have any affect on him moving forward.

"No man. I love Magic, (he’s a) great dude," George said, before laughing when Kimmel responded by saying that it was good he thought that because he was going to be working for him with the Lakers.

"I know I'm always going to get those L.A. ties, man. I'm an L.A. kid,” George said, before joking that former Lakers star Kobe Bryant is a bigger deal in his family household than he even is.

Still, he wasn’t quite willing to demand a trade to the Lakers on air, even if he didn’t exactly shut-down speculation that he’d rather be a Laker than a Pacer when Kimmel mentioned that all the speculation was a “worst-case scenario” for the Pacers.

"It is. I love Indiana, man, it's really a hard,” George said, trailing off.

Any Lakers’ decision to trade for George is likely being put off pending the conclusion of the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, at which point the Lakers will know whether or not they’ll get to keep their top-three protected lottery pick as a potential asset to include in a deal for George.

Or the team could just wait a year an target George in free agency without giving up any assets. Regardless of their choice, George’s interview with Kimmel made it clear these rumors aren’t going away anytime soon.

You can watch the full interview below and judge for yourself:

Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.