The Los Angeles Lakers can set their sights on a very smooth summer with the No. 2 pick in hand. Gone is the pressure to make something happen immediately, instead giving the freshly instilled front office a chance to play their first hand slowly. The No. 2 pick is enough excitement to hold off the fan base for just a bit longer.
The Lakers now have young talent galore, with three lottery picks in hand and a fourth on the way. They also have interesting young role players like Larry Nance, Jr. and Jordan Clarkson as well. Put it together and LA has a fairly nice platter for a team like the Indiana Pacers to pick from if they feel the answer to their looming Paul George problem is to make it another team’s problem to solve.
That’s what Byron Scott suggested to Mark Willard of Fox Sports San Diego, saying that he thinks the Lakers want to make a splash this summer instead of risking George winding up somewhere else:
Byron Scott on the Paul George situation:— Mark Willard (@Mark_T_Willard) May 28, 2017
"I think it is a risk if you wait. I think the Lakers would like to make a splash this summer."
All signs seem to point to the Lakers wanting to take their time with so many options in front of them. Trade rumors will likely heat up in the days leading up to the NBA Draft on June 22, but Los Angeles is in a position of leverage with George. Magic Johnson has made it clear the Lakers view the summer of 2018 - the year George can walk from Indiana as an unrestricted free agent - as the big opportunity they’re preparing for.
Jeanie Buss has also gone on the record about how important the franchise feels about being patient and developing their young talent. That seems to go against what Scott suggests, preferring the team cashes out on the potential of their young assets for the assured services of George for at least one season.
There’s some merit to getting player to his destination and giving him a reason to stay after the final year of his contract expires, but then there’s Dwight Howard, on the other hand. Moreover, reports indicate that George’s camp prefers the Lakers retain their talent for him to make the move as a free agent instead of diminishing their potential by gutting the team to acquire him one season early.
Another day, another George to the Lakers story to pass the time over.