It was only a matter of time, but the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers have officially begun to discuss a potential deal for Paul George, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
George had his agent let the Pacers know Sunday that he planned to leave them next summer, preferably for the Lakers, and while Los Angeles had previously not been thought to not be ready to engage until the Pacers were close to a deal with another team, it seems things have changed.
Talks are a long way from a deal, however, and there is likely still a long way to go until that gets done. It’s been reported that the Lakers don’t intend to include any of their young core in a deal for George because of his stated desire to join them in free agency, but it remains to be seen if that was simply posturing or if they’ll hold firm.
According to Stein and Shelburne, as of right now they aren’t budging:
The Lakers have been adamant that they will not part with the No. 2 pick or last season's No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram in a trade for George, knowing that the Pacers' All-Star hopes to sign with his hometown Lakers as a free agent in July 2018.
One team source went as far Tuesday as saying there's "zero chance" they'd surrender Thursday night's No. 2 pick or Ingram
Given all the trade chatter about D’Angelo Russell over the past day, it’s interesting to not see his name included as untouchable, but it sounds like he’s likely not going to Indiana, either:
On Lakers-Pacers front: Paul George & D'Angelo Russell have same agent, Aaron Mintz of CAA, & he would like them to play together. Tricky...— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 20, 2017
More on this story as it develops.
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.